My final column before a little hiatus as my fight nears is going to be a short one. While we still have the Legacy Fighting Alliance 96 bout between Lisa Maudlin and Mitzi Merry to discuss, we lost out on the only female bout at UFC on ESPN 19 when someone from Montana De La Rosa’s camp tested positive for COVID-19.
Luckily for De La Rosa’s scheduled opponent Taila Santos, she was able to quickly get a fight booked two weeks from now. She will step in for the injured Andrea Lee to face Gillian Robertson in a really interesting bout. Under normal circumstances, I would look at another female bout that happened somewhere to give you a little more to read, but given that this is a crucial part of my own training camp, I hope you all can understand why I chose not to invest that time here.
Lisa Mauldin vs. Mitzi Merry (LFA 96)
Mauldin, who topped Merry by unanimous decision, fought what was to me a somewhat surprising strategy. It was a very effective one, though.
My thought going into the fight was that Mauldin would be the better striker and would look to keep it on the feet, where she can move. By move, I don’t mean she’d avoid mixing it up. What I meant is that she’d come in from different angles — land, circle out, come in from a different angle, and land again. There were two reasons for this assumption. First, I thought Merry would look to play the clinch game and get takedowns. Second, Merry has some looping punches. They are effective, but loopy and come at a weird angle, so Mauldin might want to avoid those if they were thrown as counters.
Instead, Mauldin seemed to favor the clinch game herself. She did really well working her way in close, be it with punches or feints. Once she put Merry’s back on the cage, she was able to keep her there while mixing in an occasional takedown. Mauldin kept her arms wrapped around Merry and landed knees and punches. Merry was trying her best to get in shots when she could and then work her way off the cage, but she didn’t really seem to try to get underhooks. The benefit of underhooks when you want to get your back off the cage is that it can let you dictate what’s happening in the clinch and, mostly, makes it easier for you to basically turn your opponent and put her to the cage or maybe even lift her arms up and off you. If Merry had gotten the underhooks or even made a greater attempt at getting them, then she might have had more success.
Due to the fight being in Kansas, which utilizes open scoring, we knew after two rounds that Mauldin was up. Merry needed some sense of urgency going into the third round. To her credit, she tried, but Mauldin was just a little bit better with the striking and again stuck to the game plan of controlling Merry on the cage. What Merry could have maybe done was double and triple that jab, keep Maudlin at the end of it, and use it to open up power shots. The other option was to throw more kicks whenever Mauldin got close.
It was a good performance from Mauldin, who used a safe yet effective strategy that got her back on track with a win. This was only Merry’s fourth pro fight, and she definitely can take some lessons from it. This might be a fight Merry looks back at and is thankful for what she learned from it.
What’s next for Mauldin? It’s hard to say, really. It isn’t like there is a huge group in the division for the LFA. One that could make sense, though, is Vanessa Demopoulos, who is coming off two losses but is the former champion. Demopoulos has a comeback win over Sam Hughes, who won a fun fight against Mauldin earlier.
That’s all for this week. I’ll be back after my fight. In the meantime, enjoy all the upcoming cards and fights!
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