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The return of Casey O Neill: How it impacts the Flyweight division

LockerRoom Team
08 March 2023

Undefeated UFC star Casey O Neill is set to make her return at UFC 286. Casey makes her return after a long gap which saw her be on the side-lines for more than a year. And interestingly, a lot has changed in the UFC Flyweight division over this time frame.

The new life in the UFC Flyweight Division

The biggest change of them all happened at UFC 285.

The UFC Women’s Flyweight division turned upside down at UFC 285 when Alexa Grasso submitted Valentina Shevchenko to become the new UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion.

Grasso not only ended the long reign of Shevchenko but added new life to the Flyweight division.

ALSO READ | Alexa Grasso is now the second P4P best female fighter in the UFC

As things stand now, the Flyweight division was almost cleaned up by Valentina Shevchenko. She had defeated almost all the top contenders in the division with the exception of a few. Grasso, on the other hand, is yet to lock horns with most of the top contenders which opens the possibility of some interesting matchmaking.

While an immediate rematch between Shevchenko and Grasso seems to be the next step for UFC, the permutations and combinations in the rankings is something that makes the division an exciting one.

The return of Casey O Neill

Ever since her debut in the UFC, Australia’s Casey O Neill has been a name to watch out for in the UFC. Casey currently holds an undefeated record of 9-0 to her name and is 4-0 in the UFC with her recent wins coming against Roxanne Modafferi and Antonina Shevchenko.

She also holds some interesting stats to her name and has the fourth most finishes in the Flyweight division.

The Australian is now slated to fight Jennifer Maia at UFC 286.

Despite the long layoff, Casey is placed at 12th in the Flyweight rankings while Maia comes into the fight placed at 8th. The showdown is bound to work as a second-level title eliminator.

The winner could be probably one or two wins away from getting a shot at whoever the champion is at that time frame.

As for Casey, a win catapults her into the top 10 and opens doors to fights like Manon Fiorot, Taila Santos, Jessica Andrade or Erin Blanchfield. A win over any of these fighters could place her ideally for a shot at the Women’s Flyweight Title once the Shevchenko-Grasso rivalry settles down.

As for Maia, the road would be a bit tougher for her. She already had her shot at Valentina Shevchenko and at the same time, suffered losses to Manon Fiorot and Katlyn Chookagian. Despite this, ending the winning run of a prospect like Casey could be a game-changer for her.

One of the most exciting divisions in the UFC

For a division that is relatively new, the UFC Women’s Flyweight division has quickly turned into one of the most exciting ones considering the amount of talent that it holds. Some potential matches are mouth-watering to say the least and it would be interesting to see how UFC takes things forward.

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