There are a number of reasons the upcoming fight Maryna Moroz vs Valerie Letourneau is a little peculiar. A young, unknown girl who cannot articulate herself in English from Ukraine, one whom the mighty Wikipedia had yet afford a page to, showed up in Poland earlier this year nearly punching the lights out of the world number 9, Joanne Calderwood, a known striker then went on to defeat “Jo Jo” within a minute and a half with an armbar submission. The next fighter Moroz is then paired up with is an unranked straw-weight fighter, whom like Joanne Calderwood, has her background predominantly in Muay Thai. Fans who had not the fortune of witnessing Moroz’s grand entrance to UFC and the English speaking world are asking why her fight with Valerie Letourneau is on the main cards of UFC Fight Night in Canada next weekend. It’s very clear; Moroz is here to stay.
Valerie Letourneau had been on a winning streak in UFC since her debut fight in Jun 2014. Nonetheless, they were both decision wins and only one unanimous. Considering how long she had been a professional in this sport (since 2007), she had never ventured outside North America. One might peg her as a solid fighter with strong experience, but with only half of her fights ended in a non-decision win, Letourneau is a rather long way off from being noteworthy or impressive.
However, she does have a very interesting advantage potentially, that is her natural weight against Moroz’s grappling talent. Valerie Letourneau in her post-fight (Jessica Rakoczy) interview admitted that she had been 150 pounds for a very long time and until that fight in Apr 2015, she had only fought in Women’s Bantamweight. The reporter in that interview asked how she felt being the first professional woman MMA fighter who had competed in 2 weights category, Letourneau replied she wasn’t aware that she was the first. When asked why she went down the path of dropping fight weight, she was unable to give more than a shrug and explained that the weight cut from her natural 150 to 115 was very tough. It was probably a smart move, after that many years in Bantamweight Letourneau might have arrived at the same conclusion as her supporters that she wasn’t heading anywhere with the stiff competition in that category. Changing weight, albeit a physically punishing method was a way she can hope to see top 10 ranking before she retires.
My first reaction when I first looked into the fight between Moroz vs Letourneau is that the win will be Moroz’s without a shadow of doubt. In my imagination, Moroz, with her sound boxing ability will attempt to blind Letourneau with a number of seamless combinations before taking her down into submission. However, the kryptonite of a grappler is the excess weight of an opponent, thus the one advantage that Letourneau may have can prove to be literally an obstacle to Moroz maintaining an undefeated and a decision free record. Nonetheless, in Nov 2014 when Moroz was confronted with an aggressive wrestler and visibly larger Karine Silva in Brazil, Moroz confronted her rival in her usual calm, unfazed manner and finished the fight with an arm twister before the close of round one. Should Moroz defeat Letourneau in the same decisive manner as she crushed “Jo Jo”, I doubt anyone would ever question again the presence of this icy cold Iron Lady.