UFC 254 Betting Pick: Miranda Maverick vs Liana Jojua

When I saw that Miranda Maverick was getting her first fight in the UFC, I couldn’t help but get excited because she has been training her striking for a couple of years under a former student of mine.

I first saw her on The House of Muay Thai’s Instagram page. They were posting her wins in Invicta. I asked my friend about her and he told me this girl is the truth.

  • She has wrestling.
  • She has submissions.
  • She has brains.

I already knew that her striking game was on a rocket-propelled upward trajectory if she was training with those guys in Norfolk, Virginia.

Miranda was originally slated to make her UFC debut against Mara Romero Borella back in June. I was coiled and ready to strike too! Let me tell ya.

She was a hefty favorite, though, but I was prepared to swallow the 3 to 1 juice and get paid. The high school boys team wrestler is only 23 too so her improvements between fights are still leaps and bounds ahead of most of the 30+ year-olds.

Miranda Maverick began her professional career in mixed martial arts at the age of 19 so you can expect a couple of losses. She has already avenged one of them, though, against UFC veteran Deanna Bennet.

Her opponent at UFC 254, Liana Jojua, is a Georgian fighter who says she is a striker but she is armbar or bust for me. I don’t care what anybody says. I faded her against Sarah Moras when Sarah had lost 3 straight and 5 of her last 7 fights inside of the Octagon.

After taping Liana, I concluded that she was very green in mixed martial arts, and to be frank, it didn’t appear that she had much heart. I really don’t like criticizing fighters’ spirits but we have to call it as we see it.

You can just tell if someone doesn’t like getting hit.

Let’s get to the measurables for these two ladies, note any major differences, and then we can get to our pick for the fight between Miranda Maverick and Liana Jojua.

Miranda Maverick Liana Jojua
Fight Record: 9-2 Fight Record: 8-3
Age: 23 Age: 25
Height: 5’3” Height: 5’4”
Reach: 65” Reach: 62”
From: Jefferson City, Missouri, USA From: Tbilisi, Georgia
Fight Camp: The House of Muay Thai Fight Camp: Akhmat Fight Club in Russia

The respected fight records for the two ladies are similar but not. Miranda Maverick has fought much higher level competition in her career than her opponent.

Liana is coming off of her first wig inside the Octagon this past July When she defeated 13-5 Diana Belbita by armbar halfway through the first round.

It was a gift, though, this armbar finish. I picked Diana Belbita in this matchup because I thought she was the better striker and the better wrestler. Well, I was right.

After piecing up the Georgian on the feet for a couple of minutes, Diana decided to take Liana down, and pretty soon she was tapping to an armbar from inside her opponent’s guard. This was the 5th armbar finish for Jojua in her 8 wins at the pro level.

I’m not going to lie.

I was pretty mad about Diana deciding to take that fight to the mat but we must treat moments like this as learning opportunities, and get better.

What did we really know about Diana, though, as this was only her second fight in the UFC and she lost the first fight?

This was more of a fade on Liana and I can’t really be that mad at myself for the pick. If I decided to make this a three or four-unit play on a fighter I didn’t know very much about, then yes, that would have been ill-advised.

Nothing has really changed for me here in regards to my opinion on Liana Jojua. We will likely be fading her again. The only problem is Miranda’s betting line is probably going to be up there.

The favorite also has 3 inches of reach on her opponent.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us this week. Let’s check those out.

Moneyline

  • Miranda Maverick (-350)
  • Liana Jojua (+285)
Round Total

  • Over 2.5 (-105)
  • Under 2.5 (-115)
Decision Prop

  • Fight goes (+105)
  • Fight doesn’t go (-145)

Looks like the betting odds for Miranda are about tree fiddy. Shout out to Chef. South Park misses you, brother.

I can’t pay the (-350) here even for a fighter I believe wins 9/10 fights against her opponent. I will tell you this, though.

The under 2.5 rounds for (-115) is something I think will hit about 75% of the time if not more. Liana is not a good fighter and while this is Maverick’s UFC debut, she has competed and succeeded under the Invicta flag.

I like this play a lot, guys. Jojua is fade, fade with the dying of the light. I know she won her last fight but her opponent gave it to her. I rate Miranda Maverick ahead of Liana Jojua in striking, clinching, takedowns, and submissions.

The armbar is her only worry but she has a great team around her and even the worst group of minds could figure Jojua out.

You can also get Miranda at (-110) to win by stoppage but if she decides to sit in Liana’s guard and those strong hips and legs lock her shoulder down, the elbow could be next.

Both women go for it. Miranda knows that Liana has that armbar in her back pocket so I think she will be looking to get her out of there. I know her coaches too quite well and they are aggressive.

Jojua is a kill or be killed kinda gal and that gives us another box checked for the under 2.5.

Prediction
Under 2.5 Rounds

In Conclusion

This should be a fairly comfortable win for Miranda Maverick. I don’t care about her armbar win in her last fight. I will continue to fade Liana Jojua until she can prove to me I should change my mind.

I don’t think Miranda is Diana Belbita either. She comes from a great camp as I mentioned and is a better all-around mixed martial artist. Sure, Maverick has lost a couple of times in her career but both were by decision, and the woman fought for the Invicta promotion for the entirety of her career to this point.

Please Note:
Invicta is owned by the UFC, is an all women’s organization out of Kansas City, MO. Missouri is Miranda’s home state too. It’s like she was bred for this. Get some midwest wrestling in high school, continue with professional MMA in college, then get some beast coast Muay Thai in Virginia. Now, she is in the UFC and this fight camp has become a super camp as she was training for her July debut back in April and May.

Yes, I spent most of the time talking about Miranda but I believe she has what it takes to be a perennial top 10 if not top 5 fighter in the Women’s Flyweight Division.

I’m not sure why this beautiful price tag still reads (-115) but jump on it now!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.