UFC London Odds, Pick & Prediction for Molly McCann vs. Julija Stoliarenko: Target Co-Headliner’s Total (Saturday, July 22)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC flyweights Molly McCann of England and Julija Stoliarenko of Lithuania
Molly McCann vs. Julija Stoliarenko Odds
The UFC London co-main event on Saturday afternoon features a women's flyweight fight between Molly McCann and Julija Stoliarenko.
McCann will once again be enjoying a home-soil advantage in a venue that she's very familiar with. That said, the scouser will be facing a desperate and dangerous fighter in Stoliarenko when they tangle in Saturday's ESPN+ co-headliner (noon ET for prelims, 3 p.m. ET for the main card).
Both women are coming off of devastating defeats, but this will be Stoliarenko's first fight down at 125 pounds.
The Lithuanian has fought primarily at featherweight and has struggled to cut to bantamweight, though she hit the scale right on the dot at 125 pounds at UFC London weigh-ins.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||11:39||10:43|
|Weight (pounds)||125 lbs.||125 lbs.|
|Date of birth||5/4/1990||4/8/1993|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.72||2.75|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||4.90||4.61|
|Take Down Avg||1.67||0.70|
Although this has all the "striker vs. grappler" vibes on paper, both fighters have made solid efforts to shore up their shortcomings.
Stoliarenko, for example, appears to be a bit more comfortable when striking since making her promotional debut post The Ultimate Fighter.
Don't get me wrong: Stolianrenko is still as stiff and limited as a late '90s "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. But to her credit, the Lithuanian knows what she's good at and can make hay with some deceptively heavy shots.
Whether Stoliarenko is leaning back on her patent check hook or setting up hard head kicks from the power side, the 30-year-old can surprise opponents if they're not careful.
Stoliarenko also has a sneaky double-leg takedown that she uses to shake things up, typically passing to her right side.
Should Stoliarenko get things to the ground early, then McCann bettors will probably start sweating with fingers clenched around their tickets.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 2, 2022
That said, McCann – despite getting quickly disposed of by super prospect Erin Blanchfield last time out – has made some marked upgrades to her grappling in recent years.
Not only has McCann improved upon her defensive fundamentals, but "Meatball" also isn't afraid to change levels and get offensive herself.
Though the latter won't likely serve her well in this fight (at least early), her improved situational awareness could get her out of some sticky spots against a fighter who lacks second and third layers.
On the feet, McCann is a certified menace.
Admit it, this is one of the best KOs you'd ever see! 💪
🏴@MeatballMolly is set to bring the excitement once again as she faces Julija Stoliarenko this Sunday!
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) July 20, 2023
McCann's boxing chops definitely shine through when it comes to her ability to counter straight shots and roll under hooks.
However, the 33-year-old scouser isn't shy to mix things up by incorporating flashy, fight-stopping spinning elbows.
Still, I'm not sure how aggressive McCann will get with spinning attacks given the looming grappling threat that Stoliarenko presents.
McCann vs. Stoliarenko Pick
Despite the initial spread opening wider, the English fighter still seems to be holding strong as the favorite with McCann -200 and Stoliarenko +175 as of this writing.
Although I'm admittedly surprised to see money coming in on Stoliarenko, I can't say that I blame anyone for playing underdogs when it comes to women's MMA.
Aside from the volatility that justifies action on wide lines, Stoliarenko's submission specialty is a common culprit for both WMMA upsets and McCann defeats alike.
Should Stoliarenko get McCann down early, then her scoring a submission is a real possibility.
For that reason, I ended up pulling off of playing McCann by TKO and instead decided to lay the price on "under 2.5 rounds," which can still be found in the neighborhood of its opener at -135.
I'd advise live looks on McCann if she survives the first round; the potential problem, however, is that Stoliarenko – despite having a slew of early finishes – is not beyond being stung early due to slow starts.
Add in a potentially diminishing weight cut, and I wouldn't bank on getting any playable prices on McCann past Round 1.
But since I still want action on McCann (who I'm officially picking to win by second-round TKO), I'll also be sprinkling small on "Meatball" to win in Rounds 2 and 3 at sizable plus money.
The Pick: Molly McCann vs. Julija Stoliarenko under 2.5 rounds (-135 at bet365) | Bet to -150