UFC Atlantic City: Three reasons to watch main event Erin Blanchfield vs. Manon Fiorot on Saturday night

A fight to determine the next big flyweight star airs on ESPN+ on March 30 when Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot collide in Atlantic City.

Blanchfield joined the UFC in 2021 and is 6-0 in the octagon. “Cold Blooded” had impressive submission wins against Molly McCann and former world champion Jessica Andrade before breaking down former contender Taila Santos in August.

The Elmwood Park-born Blanchfield is ready to showcase her skills before family and friends.

“It’s going to be like watching my career come full circle,” Blanchfield told NorthJersey.com. “From my pro debut to now, going up in the ranking and being in main event spots. I think it’s going to be huge, and I’m super excited to see the crowd. I love the energy.”

WATCH: UFC Atlantic City: Erin Blanchfield vs. Manon Fiorot on ESPN+

Fiorot turned pro in 2018 and joined the UFC in 2021. The former EFC and UAE flyweight champion is 6-0 in the octagon, with her last fight being a decision win over former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas in September.

Outside of the main event, the card is stacked, featuring the return of New York’s Chris Weidman, a human highlight reel in Joaquin Buckley, and Virna Jandiroba vs. Loopy Godinez in a high-stakes strawweight fight.

The Sporting News will provide the top reasons to watch UFC Atlantic City.

Three reasons to watch UFC Atlantic City: Erin Blanchfield vs. Manon Fiorot

The flyweight division’s best facing off

Both fighters are in the top ten at flyweight, with Blanchfield at number two and Fiorot at six.

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Fiorot is a two-time national champion in Muay Thai and an EFC and UAE flyweight champion.

Blanchfield is undefeated in the UFC and is currently The Sporting News’ top-rated fighter under 25

The pair have mowed down the competition with ease, so how will the winner of this fight be rewarded?

With flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, it leaves the division at a standstill. It could have been an interim title fight, and there’s a chance the winner will be the top contender for flyweight gold. 

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“I feel like it definitely should be [a title eliminator],” Blanchfield told MMA Junkie. “I’m No. 2, she’s No. 3. The only two girls ahead of us are the girls that have been fighting for the title. So when I win Saturday, I feel like I’m definitely a lock for the title.

Should we listen to the odds for Erin Blanchield vs. Manon Fiorot?

Per Bet MGM, Blanchfield is the -190 favorite while Fiorot is the +155 underdog. Is that an accurate representation of their skill level at the moment?

They may not both land triple-digit significant strikes, but Blanchield and Fiorot are as tough as they come.

Blanchfield lands 5.58 significant strikes per minute, while Fiorot lands 6.05. Fiorot’s mark is fifth-best in women’s MMA, with Blanchfield at eight. The former is second in strike differential (2.74), while Blanchfield (2.26) ranks fifth. 

Fiorot can use her significant strike defense mark of 69.6% (ranked second) against Blanchfield’s 62.4% mark (ranked eighth).

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Both are almost even in bottom position time, with Fiorot at 0:10 and Blanchfield at 0:12. On the floor is where Blanchfield can have the edge. “Cold Blooded” lands 2.86 takedowns per 15 minutes (1.46 for Fiorot). She also averages 1.19 submissions per 15 minutes, which ranks third.

Before going the distance against Taila Santos, Blanchfield won three straight via submission.

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On paper, it looks like Blanchield has the edge, but Fiorot won’t go down without a fight. Expect this to be a barnburner.

Changing things up a flyweight

The UFC’s flyweight division has needed a fresh face for a while. For almost five years, Valentina Shevchenko ran through the weight class, making every top contender look insignificant. 

When Alexa Grasso came along, Shevchenko finally found her equal. Since their two meetings, the division has gone through a makeover, with Maycee Barber, Blanchfield and Fiorot emerging as potential saviors.

The new blood is coming, and this fight is just a taste of what could happen once the series between Shevchenko and Grasso has ended.

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