‘King’ Casey O’Neill stepped into the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC 286 intent on breaking into the top 10 of the flyweight division. Standing in her way was the always dangerous Brazilian grappler Jennifer Maia. O’Neill entered the bout undefeated in her professional MMA career with four of her nine victories coming under the UFC banner including finishes of Shana Dobson, Lara Fritzen, and Antonina Shevchenko.
Casey O’Neill immediately came out firing, but Maia was game, throwing back power strikes in response. Solid right landed by Maia. O’Neill responded with a body kick. Both women are staying in tight and letting their hands go. Maia mixed it up with a solid calf kick. O’Neill sticks her with a big right hand. Maia responds with a jab. Body kick from Maia lands, but O’Neill landed a right hand. O’Neill throws a leg kick that is caught by Maia. O’Neill is able to keep her balance and avoid Maia’s first takedown attempt. Both women continue to let their hands fly as the opening round comes to a close.
Maia comes out throwing a quick combination. O’Neill responded with a calf kick. Maia is getting the better of the exchanges, throwing 2-3 punches for every one of O’Neill’s. ‘King’ keeps moving forward, but is taking the worse of the strikes as Maia continues to test out her newfound striking skills. O’Neill moves in, landing a big right hand on Maia, and immediately presses Maia against the fence, but is unable to capitalize. O’Neill is beginning to find the range, but Maia’s output is far greater than her opponent as the second round ends.
Maia comes out and immediately threw a 1-2 combination. O’Neill changes levels against the fence but is unable to come up with the takedown and narrowly gives up her back in the process. O’Neill moves in once again but gets the worst of the exchange as Maia continued to simply throw more strikes. O’Neill throws a head kick that glanced off the head of Maia. 1-2 from O’Neill lands. Maia responds with a solid right. Head kick by Maia is blocked by O’Neill. Right hand by Maia lands. 1-2 by O’Neill lands again. Push kick by O’Neill. Maia responds by going for a takedown with 40 seconds to go in the fight. Maia switches to a single-leg but is unable to put O’Neill on the mat and O’Neill moves in landing a nasty right hand to close out the final round.
Official Result: Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Check Out Highlights From Casey O’Neill vs. Jennifer Maia at UFC 286 Below:
The final face-off between Jennifer Maia & Casey O’Neill ahead of their flyweight fight on the #UFC286 PPV main card.#UFC #MMA pic.twitter.com/83MyC4hc3Q
— Women's MMA Rankings (@WMMARankings) March 17, 2023
Winning via unanimous decision! 🙌
🇧🇷 @JenniMaiaUFC hands O'Neill her first professional loss. #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/N1lwkwat6W
— UFC (@ufc) March 18, 2023