Jennifer Maia hands Casey O’Neill first career loss in technical showcase

Jennifer Maia utilized her technical striking Saturday to become the first opponent to defeat previously-surging flyweight contender Casey O’Neill.

The bout was part of the UFC 286 main card at The O2 in London and saw Maia (21-9-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC) defeat O’Neill (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

The fight was largely a technical striking match for its duration. While O’Neill found success with her strikes, her combinations were shorter and less in volume than Maia’s. As O’Neill often fired single strikes, Maia would answer with two or three. O’Neill pressed the action, but Maia utilized her footwork to elude the pressuring foe.

Maia’s jab in particular found a home. When O’Neill tried to grapple her in Round 2, Maia reversed position against the fence. In Round 3, O’Neill pursued with an increased level of urgency. She found success with her strikes and range, though Maia bloodied her nose.

In the final minute, the two fighters opened up. Maia shot for a takedown and controlled O’Neill against the fence until the final 10 seconds. O’Neill landed a handful of significant punches in the waning seconds.

With the victory, Maia extends her winning streak to two. In November, Maia defeated Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision. The two-fight streak comes after three losses in the previous four fights, including a UFC 255 title challenge against then-champion Valentina Shevchenko.

O’Neill encounters her first MMA loss at age 25. She spent the months leading up to the fight recovering and readying after an ACL tear in early 2022. Her UFC victories to date include Shana Dobson, Lara Fritzen, Antonina Shevchenko, and Roxanne Modafferi.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 286 results include:

  • Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Marvin Vettori def. Roman Dolidze via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

  • Jack Shore def. Makwan Amirkhani via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:27

  • Chris Duncan def. Omar Morales via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Yanal Ashmoz def. Sam Patterson via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:15

  • Muhammad Mokaev def. Jafel Filho via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:32

  • Lerone Murphy def. Gabriel Santos via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

  • Christian Duncan def. Dusko Todorovic via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:52

  • Jake Hadley def. Malcolm Gordon via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:01

  • Joanne Wood def. Luana Carolina via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

  • Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein declared majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

  • Veronica Hardy def. Juliana Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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