Liverpool’s sweetheart and fan favourite, Molly McCann didn’t have the fairytale return to the O2 Arena like she hoped. Looking to bounce back from a first-round submission loss to top contender, Erin Blanchfield in New York last November, McCann took on Julija Stoliarenko in the UFC London co-main event.
Unfortunately for Meatball, it didn’t go her way and her winning streak in London’s O2 Arena was snapped by Lithuania’s, Storliarenko. Having previously gone 3-0 in the country’s capital (including back-to-back spinning back elbow finishes), McCann was looking to get back in the win column, however, it wasn’t to be.
Taking on a weight-class newcomer in Stoliarenko, McCann began well. She appeared to sting her opponent with straight shots, was able to find her distance well, however, it would appear to be futile.
The former bantamweight landed a strong takedown on the flyweight McCann after a big overswing from Liverpool’s own. As the takedown was landed, McCann all but gave up her back and it appeared that Storliarenko was in a position to lock in the rear-naked choke. She got the body triangle with ease, almost progressing to full mount quickly. McCann rolled to her front to avoid the position, however, her opponent was able to isolate an arm and lock in the armbar finish.
— MMA Mania (@mmamania) July 22, 2023
What’s Next for Meatball?
After her second straight first-round submission finish, McCann is certainly at a crossroads in her career. There’s a clear hole in her game, her grappling and submission defence. We know she’s worked a lot on her ground game at Next Generation, her gym in Liverpool, however, it appears not to be enough just yet.
We’ve seen her suffer two straight losses previously in the UFC back in 2020/2021, however, that was when she was far younger. She’s now 33 and appears as far away from a ranked opponent as she’s ever been.
Who’s next for McCann? Well, it looks as if her arm may be injured following a deep armbar and late break-up of the submission last night. She’ll likely take some time away to rehab the injury and look to return early next year.
At this point, the English pioneer needs fun fights. A Joanne Wood fight could be a fun one. Neither woman would look to take the fight to the floor and it would likely play out on the feet. Likewise, Antonia Shevchenko makes a lot of sense. Both women are recognisable names, enjoy the stand-up game and are far away from a ranked opponent. Shevchenko is 3-4 in her last seven, as is McCann, so it logically makes sense.
Whatever is next for McCann, we know Dana White likes her so don’t expect her to be cut from the roster yet.