This is a joint piece by MMA Wreckage’s Stephen Rivers and Victor “Juice” Vargas. each takes one fighter and makes their case as to why they could emerge victorious
Stephen’s take on Carmouche
No question, Carmouche has some serious obstacles to overcome to get the win here. Chookagian is an outstanding flyweight prospect, and that will be enough to pick up some wins in the UFC at bantamweight. That highlights a significant problem negated here though, in that Carmouche has typically had to fight larger opponents throughout her UFC career. While Carmouche has always shied away from making excuses, or even classing herself as a potential flyweight, the reality is that she would be a title threat at 125 pounds if the UFC added the division.
The chances of Carmouche timing counters on the feet, or really even getting close to a very mobile opponent with such slick striking and movement seem slim. Carmouche can take this fight to the ground though. She’s a solid offensive wrestler, and is good at grinding fighters down. Being comfortable off your back can bite you in the ass when fights go to the decision, and Chookagian is that fighter. If Carmouche can smother Chookagian early she can make it a long, hard, three rounds for her and pick up a close decision.
Juice’s take on Pennington
Katlyn Chookagian, the undefeated New Jersyan made her statement in her octagon debut against former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Lauren Murphy. Training from the same camp as former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, Chookagian emulates a similar style of linear punches and good footwork. Always light on the feet, and circling away from the opponent in an intelligent manner.
Women’s mixed martial arts at times has been unfortunately categorized by head throws and wild haymakers, that is a bad misrepresentation of WMMA today and young fighters like Chookagian show that a woman’s toughness is not their only manner of defense. Chookagian has a frame and style that can prose problems for many bantamweights even though she has previously fought as low as 120 pounds. With good mechanical movements, solid striking, respectable grappling and a gas tank and output that can fluster many women, Chookagian is a nice addition to an evolving women’s bantamweight division.
Carmouche is coming off a substantial layoff but she she is capable of beating most bantamweights on any given night. The “Girlrilla” went through a bit of a transformation in her last fight with Murphy and chose to be a bit more point-oriented; swerving away from her usual aggression in her Invicta tenure. If Carmouche returns to her pre-UFC day style, I could see this being a tough and gritty kind of fight, but Chookagian seems like she’ll have many answers to the problems that Carmouche presents.
Physically, Chookagian holds many advantages, her distance management and reach utilization will make it difficult for Carmouche to get within striking range and if Carmouche is successful in getting Chookagian to the mat, her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very good, both offensively and defensively. Chookagian’s long limbs give her lots of leverage against the stout San Diego based fighter, especially considering a few of her losses have been by submission. Carmouche will be determined to get another good win on her resume after her controversial win over Murphy, but Chookagian’s win against Murphy more definitive and much more recent. A finish may be unlikely, but a comfortable 30-27 decision win seems more likely to be in the cards.