On the bill of UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria as one of the bouts on the preliminary card, the contest between Andrea Lee and Miranda Maverick might just be one that is worth keeping an eye on.
It will see two extremely fierce American competitors going at one another when they hit the Octagon, with both flyweights being among the best in the division at this weight class.
The fight will take place on February 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, and will mean different things for the fighters. Both are at different stages of their careers, but that does not mean that there is so much on the line for either of them.
How big of a fight can this be for Lee?
Andrea Lee might find that this is a “must-not-lose” fight, as the experienced MMA fighter has been experiencing a downward trend. Ranked the No. 19 flyweight in the world, she has been struggling to find the winning touch.
In her last three fights, the 35-year-old has failed to win. She has managed to go the distance in each of those fights, but decisions (both split and unanimous) have gone against her in her contests against Viviane Araujo, Maycee Barber, and most recently against Natalia Silva at UFC 292. In fact, it has been a while since she last tasted victory in the Octagon, with that win coming against Cynthia Calvillo in 2021.
Another defeat to her record - which currently reads 13-8-0 - can potentially end her career in the UFC, as it would not make her appear to be a viable contender for big fights in the future.
Maverick can continue her journey in UFC with a win
Almost a decade younger than her opponent, the 26-year-old Maverick is expected to be victorious in this fight with Lee. According to a sportsbook that allows you to bet on UFC fights, she is the favorite with odds of -180. Lee is priced at +143 to get the win.
Of course, recent performances have influenced the prices that have been made available. Maverick has been better than Lee in the Octagon in recent fights, although her form has also been a little patchy. She defeated Priscila Cachoeira by submission at UFC 291 but was defeated by Jasmine Jasudavicius by a unanimous decision verdict.
Before that defeat, she had been on a run of consecutive victories, having defeated Shanna Young and Sabina Mazo. She boasts a 12-5-0 pro-MMA career record and a win could elevate her further as Lee will be one of the most experienced fighters she would have fought to date.
How will the fight turn out?
While most eyes will be on the main card and anticipating the fights between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria (championship bout) and Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa at UFC 298, the match up between Lee and Maverick is one that can potentially provide interesting action.
There is a general consensus that this match will go the distance and will be settled by decision. Of course, the judges have decided Lee’s last three bouts, whereas three of Maverick’s last five bouts have also required decisions to be made.
Interestingly, it would seem both do not have the best records when a decision is required. As we know, Lee has lost her last three, while Maverick lost two of the three contests requiring decisions. While the latter is the favorite, there might be some concern if it goes the distance.
Could one of them win by another method? Maverick - who is from Colorado, Denver - has shown that she can get the desired result through the use of submission holds. Seven of the wins (57% total) that she has achieved in her career has come as a result of this method, while she has one TKO/KO victory to her name. Each of her five losses have come as a result of a decision, thus adding further concern to what may happen if each of the rounds are completed without a stoppage.
Lee has five wins via submission (38% of her fight wins) with three coming by way of TKO/KO. She has also required five of her wins through decisions, while seven of her eight losses have come this way, too. She has only ever submitted once and has never been KO’ed.