We have a rare Sunday night event for UFC Fight Night 74 this weekend from Saskatchewan, Canada. Let's look at this women's 115-pound matchup between Maryna Moroz (6-0) vs. Valerie Latourneau (7-3) that will open up the main card on Fox Sports 1.
This women’s bout features two exciting strawweight prospects, and is virtually the classic grappler vs. striker matchup. Moroz comes into this fight with a perfect professional record at 6-0. She has finished all of her fights inside of the distance, five in the first round, and five by armbar. She was last seen in the Octagon against Joanne Calderwood who she defeated by armbar at just 1:30 into their fight in April of this year.
Latourneau is the striker in this matchup, and prior to coming into the UFC had finished four of her professional fights by T/KO. She has won both of her UFC fights by decision (one unanimous, one split), and most recently defeated Jessica Rakoczy by unanimous decision in April of this year. Latourneau holds the distinction of being the only woman on the UFC’s roster to have won a fight in both the UFC women’s bantamweight and strawweight divisions.
The oddsmakers favor Moroz here as she is the favorite at -185 and Latourneau is a slight underdog at +160. However, I’d stay away from picking the underdog in this fight. Moroz showed tremendous skill in her fight against Calderwood and her ability to finish no doubt gives her the edge in this fight. Latourneau will be looking to strike, but so was Calderwood, and Moroz was able to get her to the ground with relative ease, and quickly, picking up her first UFC win in an impressive fashion.
Latourneau’s best bet would be to keep the fight off the ground – use her striking to keep Moroz at a distance and if she does happen to floor Moroz, quickly wave her back up unless she managed to put her down for the count. Then continue to use her striking to take Moroz into the later rounds where she’s untested. A consistent, volume based offense would give Latourneau her best chance.
However, there are a lot of variables that come into play, Moroz’s tenacity being at the forefront. Moroz had little problems with Calderwood’s striking and even though she wasn’t able to immediately lock in the armbar when she went for it, she stayed with the attempt and still got the submission quickly.
I wouldn’t expect a much different result in this fight, and look for Moroz to get a submission by the end of the first round or beginning of the second.