Molly McCann (Cage Warriors)

Women’s MMA Weekend Preview: UFC, Combate and UAE Warriors

This week we have women’s MMA fights from multiple promotions. We have the UFC’s offering of Ji Yeon Kim vs. Molly McCann. Alongside that we are going to look at Jade Jorand and Gloria Bravo Barrios from Combate Global and the UAE Warriors battle between Corinne Laframboise and Elin Oberg. Three very interesting fights, so let’s take a look.

Ji Yeon Kim vs. Molly McCann (UFC Fight Night)

Kim brings a record of 9-3-2 into this one after dropping a decision to Alexa Grasso just over a year ago. At 3-3 in her UFC career, this is an important fight for her if she wants to start climbing up in the rankings.

Kim has one big advantage here. When I say big, I mean BIG. She will have a 10-inch reach advantage and from a style standpoint, that is even bigger in a fight like this. Kim sets up her striking with the jab. She will throw it a lot and use it to set up power shots. Yes, that is normal, it’s what the jab is for in some ways.


But for Kim, She will jab, jab, jab and jab. She almost uses her jab to set up her jab (if that makes sense). When you have such a significant reach advantage, that style makes the jab even more of a weapon. When you have it against a fighter who is going to come forward and make it a brawl, it is an even bigger advantage.

So in the early going, I think we can expect Kim to keep throwing that jab. Even if it doesn’t land or with power, she can keep just sticking it out there. It is going to annoy McCann because it’s going to keep her out of range. And it makes things more complicated for McCann to get inside. Kim would also be wise to throw in some low kicks during this time.

If Kim keeps pumping her jab and sticking it in McCann’s face, McCann will become very focused on it. She will be looking to avoid it and won’t be paying attention to her leg. So kicks will score. Also, kicks are another way Kim can keep McCann back and at range.

After this, Kim can start mixing in her power strikes. She has deceptive power and a really sneaky hook when she is throwing combos. As she starts to add that in, she now gives McCann yet another thing to worry about. McCann likely will try and change her angles and when she does that, that is when the hook can really come into play and do damage.

Not just the hook, but other power punches as well. McCann might even be looking more into lunging in at this point. The hook becomes even more violent because it’s meeting the face of someone creating her own momentum. Compare it to the damage from one car crashing into a parked car and the damage of two moving cars colliding head on.

This fight is not going to have much clinching. And it’s not really going to see the ground. But McCann can be taken down. If rounds are close, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kim throw in, or at least attempt, a late takedown just to secure a round.

McCann comes in at 10-4 having dropped decisions to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio in her last two bouts. From a fan standpoint, McCann is one of my favorite fighters to watch despite having a totally different style from mine. Win or lose, she is never out of a fight and will keep coming forward and keep trying.

McCann’s way to win this fight is simple. She needs to make it ugly and make it more of a brawl. Even with Kim’s reach advantage, she is also possibly the right opponent for McCann in this situation. If McCann get get inside and make it ugly, she can win there.

How does she get inside? There are a couple ways. Let’s start with Kim’s jab. She uses it and commits to it, however at times she overextends with it. So it will be important for McCann to not get frustrated with those initial jabs. They are coming and they are going to land. McCann is someone I don’t see getting frustrated though. You can hit her a hundred times and she’s going to keep coming forward.

If McCann handles those well, she can seize the opportunity when Kim does overextend. She can step around the jabs and start countering with her power punches. She may or may not hurt Kim with them, but she will then at least be in close where she can do work.

Kim is an opponent comes right back when she’s hit. She’s not fond of someone else having the last punch. When McCann gets inside and lands, she shouldn’t back out or circle away. She should stay there because Kim is going to answer and that is McCann’s chance at making it an ugly brawl. McCann has to be willing to take damage and get hit, but that’s never been an issue for her.

Lastly, while both fighters like to come forward, I wouldn’t mind McCann letting Kim be the one to do that. Kim likes to let people go first and respond. In this fight, I think she will try and lead more and McCann should let her. If Kim is doing something she doesn’t normally do, she might be prone to mistakes.

Jade Jorand vs. Gloria Bravo Barrios (Combate Global)

Jorand brings an 0-1 record into this fight after suffering a loss under the Bellator banner to Monika Chochlikova in October of 2020. She lost that fight by submission due to a scorpion crunch. Now, let’s be clear, that shouldn’t happen. That being said, Jorand seems like a confident fighter who can put that behind her.

Jorand is a very good striker and it’s where she needs to be. She has an opponent who can be beaten on the feet. Jorand has good kicks and is a solid kickboxer in general. Barrios isn’t necessarily fond of checking kicks. So the kicks will be key for Jorand.

Jorand doesn’t want to just blindly throw kicks, though. If she does that, assuming she’s having success with them, eventually Barrios is going to say “enough of this crap” and shoot when she throws one. Jorand has to set them up with her feints and footwork. This will allow her to disguise them easier. Barrios will back up from feints and it makes checking kicks harder. Furthermore, with the movement and footwork, Barrios has to move as well. She may actually circle right into the kicks.

Now, Jorand can’t just rely on kicks, obviously. But there are other openings for strikes also. Barrios throws wide punches at times. She has some power, but they can be wide. Jorand will have opportunities to go straight up the middle with punches. She can have success with the basic 1-2 or 1-1-2. And when you are having success with something like that, you can frustrate your opponent and make them desperate and wild.

Which leads me to the next thing. We talked about the kicks and you’ll notice I mostly talked about low kicks, mentioning them not being checked. As the fight goes on, if Jorand’s having success, she go up high with those kicks. But what I do want Jorand to do is keep her hands up on her kicks. I’ll explain more of that in a moment.

Jorand, despite the aforementioned scorpion crunch, is not helpless on the ground. When she is on top, she has good ground and pound. But in this case, I don’t want her to mess around on the ground. I think she is still at an overall disadvantage here. If she finds herself on the ground, I would like Jorand to do what she did in the Chochlikova fight. Hold Barrios tight and close to avoid getting into trouble.

Barrios comes in with a listed record of 4-5 although that may not be accurate. There might be another win out there that she hasn’t gotten added to her record. She most recently suffered a submission loss to Ana Palacios in July. Barrios is interesting because she has three armbar finishes, but her last two losses have also been by submission.

Barrios for reasons stated above, doesn’t want to engage in a kickboxing match here. She’s at a disadvantage. However she’s a tough girl, so I fear her wanting to prove a point. If that happens, she does have a path to success. First off, she has to check kicks. She has not done that well in the past and now she’s fighting someone who can really batter her legs. If she is not checking them, she is in real trouble.

Barrios is an aggressive forward moving fighter. Many would advise her not to do that here, but I will say the opposite. I want her to move forward, to pressure Jorand. It might help take away the superior technique of Jorand by forcing Jorand to be reactive instead of proactive. When that happens, you will see the person have less time to focus on technique and worry more about just throwing.

The other thing is that Jorand will drop her hands when she throws kicks. Barrios throws looping punches at times. If she sees Jorand is keeping her hands low when she throws kicks, she can capitalize. It’s a perfect time for Barrios to respond with punches, a hard hook for example. As Jorand is throwing a kick and has her momentum coming forward, Barrios can hurt her and maybe even drop her.

I would eventually like Barrios to get this to the ground. She should do so instead of trying to kickbox for 15 minutes. On the ground, as long as she is on top, she can have success. If she is patient, she has the ability to lure Jorand into a mistake.

From a record standpoint, this fight might not seem special. But records don’t always tell the story and this fight has the potential to produce some real excitement.

Corinne Laframboise vs. Elin Oberg (UAE Warriors 22)

This fight will be your basic grappler versus striker battle. It doesn’t require much of an explanation of what each needs to do. One thing that is interesting, the last opponent for each fighter was Malin Hermansson, with both getting wins over her. Laframboise beat her via armbar in March and Oberg beat her via split decision in August of last year. And Hermansson is no easy out. Those two fights make up two thirds of her total losses.

Laframboise comes in at 6-4 overall and will have to get this fight to the ground. She is an outstanding BJJ practitioner and while her striking is good, staying there too long gives Oberg a better chance to win. One thing I like about Laframboise in watching video of her, I noticed fight by fight her striking did improve. That is something I think is important not only in this fight, but going forward.

Many times in hearing about myself I have heard “Jillian DeCoursey, the grappler” and everyone just expected me to want to go to the ground. So I had to improve my striking. Laframboise will encounter more people with zero intention of letting her get a fight to the ground, so she will need to continue to evolve her striking.

As I said, Laframboise needs to get it to the ground, but she has to start on the feet. She is far from helpless here and has some weapons. The things I like best from her are her kicks. She has hard low kicks that can be of use here. Also, she has a very sneaky head kick. The low kicks will help her from letting Oberg get too close. It will help slow that forward momentum of Oberg. Laframboise can then proceed to feint low and come up high. Who knows, she might land a big one.

What she doesn’t want to do is stay right in front of Oberg when throwing. Staying stationary is going to allow Oberg to get inside and do what she does best. Standing and trading serves zero purpose which is where defense comes in. Not that Laframboise’s shown any issues in the past, but keeping her hands high, protecting her chin is important. Her kicks are best when thrown as the lead strike. This is good because it means she wont be bringing her hands back, they will already be there.

In the end, she wants to get into the clinch, which her kicks can help do. She can force Oberg to raise her leg to check them, making it easier to clinch. While Oberg is strong in the general sense, Laframboise has the stronger clinch game. She can easily control opponents in there. Laframboise is very patient in the clinch. She will hold the position and wait for the right moment to get the takedown.

Once Laframboise has a takedown, her BJJ is at a level where she can be safe and not have to worry about being defensive. She can look for passes or opportunities to find the submission. Absolute worst case, she can stay on top long enough to win rounds, frustrate Oberg and make her make mistakes.

Oberg carries a 3-1 record. She put people on notice in her pro debut by defeating Anna Ostvik in just six seconds. Oberg is by far the better striker here and will want to do all she can to keep this thing standing.

She will look to draw Laframboise into a kickboxing match. But assuming she is unable to do that, it becomes about what she doesn’t do than what she does. She doesn’t want to rush in because it becomes easier for Laframboise to take Oberg down. She needs to find a comfortable range where she can land her strikes, but not so close to where the takedown is an option for Laframboise. If she’s having success on the feet, Laframboise becomes desperate to get the fight down, so movement helps Oberg avoid that.

Oberg is good at mixing up her strikes and she’ll definitely be doing that here. The more she does that, the more it becomes about her striking. And it will make Laframboise defensive. That is when Oberg cabnget Laframboise moving backwards to avoid strikes. When that happens, Oberg can be more aggressive. Someone moving backwards isn’t likely to have success getting takedowns. With that risk gone, Oberg can now move in faster and up the volume.

If Laframboise gets the clinch, one thing Oberg does have, is that she is physically strong. It’s not going to mean she can control the clinch, but it does mean she can have success breaking away from it.

Lastly, if it goes to the ground, use that strength to wrap her arms around Laframboise. Hold her close, control her posture and just stall it out. If she tries to do too much, she opens up offensive attacks for Laframboise.

That is it for this week. Enjoy the fights this weekend.