An Elite Contender With Only One Combo

Karate specialist, Manon Fiorot, will take on jiu-jitsu black belt, Erin Blanchfield, this Saturday (March 30, 2024) at UFC Atlantic City in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Manon Fiorot must have heard that famous quote and taken it to heart, because she loves the 1-2-3 combination more than any fighter I’ve ever seen. Don’t believe me? Watch her beat up Bantamweight title contender Mayra Bueno Silva with the same combo for the full 15 minutes.

There are, of course, some other elements to her game. Only one combination is an exaggeration, but it’s really not much of one. The fun part is that despite the relatively limited nature of her game, Fiorot has a real chance at becoming champion.

Let’s take a closer look at her skill set:

Striking

Fiorot has a long background in striking. She began in Karate as a child and joined the French national team before later turning to Muay Thai and kickboxing. All of those influences are at least a bit visible in the cage, where she operates as a Southpaw with an imposing edge in physicality.

Athleticism trumps most everything else in MMA, and Fiorot has it in spades. She can throw fast, hard strikes at a higher rate than pretty much any of her opponents. That’s a huge advantage before we get into the actual technique or strategy behind her shot selection.

Boxing form is an issue for the French striker, however. She tends to step heavily into all her punches rather than really snap them like a boxer. All the same, she has a fairly effective jab for a Southpaw, and she’s able to continue throwing it with good power and speed. Fiorot will hook off the jab as well, but again, she tends to throw that hook as a bit of an arm punch. She falls into her hook, rather than pulling her weight to her back leg to generate force.

It still works though. Fiorot clipped Rose Namajunas — a much better boxer in terms of fluidity and mechanics — several times with the check hook, and her jab stung “Thug Rose” repeatedly as well.

As mentioned, Fiorot’s favorite combo is the 1-2-3. She seriously beat Silva throwing almost nothing but the 1-2-3. It’s a classic for a reason of course, but being predictable is rarely a good thing. That said, Fiorot can mix up where those shots go. On occasion, she’s take the cross to the body then gone back upstairs with the hook, and she’s also thrown the first two punches upstairs before digging the right hook to the body.

When Fiorot throws the hook, she often turns into the punch. This is suboptimal from a boxing perspective, but it allows Fiorot to get really side-on with her opponent, loading up her side kick. The side kick is a great weapon for Fiorot, one that allows her to stab at an opponent backing away from the combo or repulse their counter attempts with a stiff push.

Fiorot’s kicking game is a big part of her success. The side kick is her most common weapon, most usually used to prevent her opponent from advancing. However, she’ll also use the kick as a counter to low kicks, which can floor her opponent if timed properly.

She’s a powerful round kicker as well, and she throws those kicks with good snap. Fiorot does good attritional damage by chopping at the legs and occasionally blasting kicks into the open side. Occasionally, she’ll take a kick upstairs (GIF), and she tends to throw it at sneaky times like on the break of clinches.

Wrestling

Remember what I said about athleticism trumping all else? That’s especially true in wrestling exchanges.

Fiorot is an effective offensive wrestler because of her strength and size. When she’s taken down her opposition, it’s because she’s powered them over in the clinch or simply caught a kick and converted that into top position. She’s not one to shoot really, preferring to work from the upper body position. Sadly, she will try the headlock throw that plagues women’s MMA, but she’s usually savvy enough not to give up her back in the process.

Fiorot’s defensive wrestling has been tested on a few occasions, and it’s everything one would expect of a good athlete. Her sprawl is powerful, and she does a good job focusing on jamming her opponent’s face towards the mat. Several times, she’s forced her opponent onto a single leg, stiff armed her foe’s face, and then limp-legged away to distance.

At 91% takedown defense overall, Fiorot’s wrestling has held up very well thus far.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Fiorot has yet to attempt or defend a submission inside the Octagon. She also has yet to win or lose a fight via tapout.

Conclusion

At 34 years of age and quite reliant on her athletic gifts, Fiorot likely doesn’t have a huge period of time as a top Flyweight contender. She’s on a great streak currently and can lock down a title shot with a win, so it really feels like now is the time for the French athlete to stake her claim at UFC gold.


Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *