January 26, 2022

UFC’s Katlyn Chookagian hopes to do what Valentina Shevchenko couldn’t and “finish” Jennifer Maia on Saturday

Katlyn Chookagian returns to the cage at this Saturday’s UFC Vegas 46 event when she takes on Jennifer Maia.

Katlyn Chookagian believes “finish” over Jennifer Maia will potentially bring her second UFC flyweight title opportunity.

The fight will be a rematch from a 2019 encounter in which Chookagian emerged victorious via unanimous decision.

During a recent chat with UFC.com, Chookagian (16-4-0) reflected on the upcoming fight.

It feels like I haven’t fought her before because I know how much I change per fight, let alone over two years. I expect that from my opponent. If we fought back-to-back, month-to-month, maybe it’d be a little different, but so much time has gone by, and me and Jennifer Maia have only fought top-level opponents, so having that experience, it definitely changes you as a fighter, and you improve a lot, so I’m expecting a totally different fight.” she said.

I haven’t seen anything different in her game since she’s gotten into the UFC until now. She’s a very good fighter, always has been. She’s had a lot of experience even before the UFC, but I think she’s very experienced and good everywhere and very tough, but I don’t think she’s gotten really any better since the last time I fought her, but I know that I have.” she continued.

Chookagian is currently considered the best UFC flyweight fighter in the world other than Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade. The 33-year-old challenged Shevchenko for the UFC flyweight title in February 2020, losing by way of a third-round TKO. Since that time, Chookagian suffered a knockout loss to Jessica Andrade, but has picked up dominant decision victories over Antonina Shevchenko, Cynthia Calvillo and Viviane Araujo.

Also known as the ‘Blonde Fighter’, Chookagian knows she is unlikely to receive another shot at Shevchenko anytime soon, but hopes that a finish over Jennifer Maia could bring her closer. Maia is known to have been one of Shevchenko’s toughest opponents to date, having gone all five rounds against her, and even winning a round.

It’s hard for me to argue for another shot at the title right now just because there are so many girls that people haven’t seen fight Valentina. I’m realistic with that, but I do think that everyone talks about how Jennifer Maia went five rounds with Valentina. I think if maybe if I was able to get a finish, then maybe that would change the conversation a little bit because I could have the argument that I finished her but Valentina didn’t, so besides that, I don’t know. I just take whoever they give me, and I keep fighting. We’ll see what happens after that.” she explained.

UFC Vegas 46 takes place this Saturday, January 15, 2022, from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. The main card, featuring Chookagian vs. Maia, will be aired live on ESPN & ESPN+ from 7 pm ET.

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