Jennifer Maia may have just put herself into position to fight for a UFC title.
After Joanne Calderwood opted to accept a matchup against her on short notice rather than waiting for flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko to recover from knee surgery, Maia made her pay with a first round armbar submission in the UFC Vegas 5 co-main event.
The fight came to a close at 4:29 into the opening round.
“I’m very happy,” Maia said following the win. “I’m getting better every time I [get in] here. I feel I’m getting ready for the title. Now I want to fight with the champion. It’s going to be a pleasure to fight [Valentina Shevchenko.”
UPSET!— UFC (@ufc) August 2, 2020
Jennifer Maia shocks Calderwood w/ a RD 1 sub.
Main event is next ➡️ LIVE on ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/1vObSH0Lhj
With both fighters willing to trade strikes early, Maia set the tone with a strong boxing arsenal that saw the Brazilian land a number of left-right combinations that Calderwood struggled to defend.
In return, Calderwood decided to take the fight to the ground but that move ultimately backfired after she secured top position with Maia immediately scrambling for submissions.
With Calderwood posturing up, Maia saw an opening to shift her hips under the Scottish flyweight and latch onto an armbar. Calderwood tried to slip free but the submission was on too tight so she attempted to roll free but Maia was not letting go.
Finally after Calderwood landed on her back, Maia tightened up the hold and extended the arm even further. At that point, Calderwood had no choice but to tap out or risk serious injury.
It was a statement win from Maia, who has now won three of her past four fights and she even received acknowledgment from Shevchenko as the reigning champion watched to see who might just be her next opponent.
See you soon Jennifer Maia— Valentina Shevchenko (@BulletValentina) August 2, 2020