Latest Posts

Erin Blanchfield thought referee would be in trouble for not stopping Molly McCann fight sooner

- Advertisement -

At UFC 281, Erin Blanchfield was ready to horribly hurt Molly McCann if she had to. However, she didn’t necessarily want that.

Pinning McCann with a crucifix in the first round of their preliminary card fight gave Blanchfield the opportunity to damage her opponent. She responded with a flurry of elbows, but that was not enough to convince referee Kevin McDonald to stop the fight.

- Advertisement -

“At one point, I managed to create a little distance and elbow her,” Blanchfield said in an interview Monday. Hour of MMA. “She was moving and kicking, so looking back, I understand why they didn’t stop her. But I remember thinking at that moment, “How many times can I hit her without answering before they can stop this fight?”

- Advertisement -

“I know she was fine, but I saw her face twist; she made a little noise because I hit her a lot, as hard as I could from that position. So I remember thinking, “How many times is this even allowed? Is he going to get in trouble for letting me hit her so many times?”

- Advertisement -

A crowd of McCann supporters in Madison Square Garden cheered as McCann, flushed from all the gunfire, briefly fled the position. They booed Blanchfield as she entered the arena; The British flyweight entered the fray with a spinning elbow knockout win, aided by her alliance with breakout star Paddy Pimblett. UFC 281 may have been a career turning point, although fans who had the money bet on Blanchfield.

“I remember almost laughing to myself—they were like, ‘Ah!’,” Blanchfield recalls. “And I thought, ‘She’s not safe at all.’

Either way, she braced herself for the fact that McCann would be hard to turn down. She just didn’t think she’d get help from officials, so when she subsequently got a kimura, she bent McCann’s arm to the point of no return.

“I remember before the fight I thought I would probably have to choke her unconscious,” Blanchfield said. “I didn’t think she was going to knock out an armbar or a kimura or anything like that, but in combat it still was and I knew I was in such a close position that I almost waited to see, if she let him burst.

“I’ve ruffled other people’s shoulders, so I know what it’s like. She let him get pretty close. … I was ready to dislocate her arm, and then the referee would probably have to stop her between rounds, but then she knocked.

In discussions about how to stand out from her opposition, the younger Blanchfield discussed a post-match move that could be a hallmark for fans. When she moved away from McCann, it came naturally: a touch of the shoulders. It’s OK.

“I controlled the fight the whole time,” she said. “I knew the submission was very blocked. To be honest, it was easy, so it was my natural reaction.”

From the moment the fight was announced, Blanchfield was surprised that the UFC made the fight. McCann, ranked No. 15 on the UFC list (and unranked in the global MMA Fighting rankings), could look at her No. 12 and jump. A close-to-home fight—she’s from Elwood Park, New Jersey—at a major pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden, she quite enjoyed.

“I wasn’t sure who they were going to ask me to fight next,” Blanchfield said. “When I was asked to fight Molly, it definitely came as a bit of a surprise. She was in good standing. But perhaps she was asking for someone higher in the rankings. I’m not sure what she thought on her end, but it was a great fight for me.”

Next, according to Blanchfield, there is a throw at an opponent from the top 10, and after that – into the top 5. Whatever the audience thought of her performance, it certainly made her stand out, and it often sets another mid-level fighter apart from a serious title threat.

Blanchfield is still working on his popularity. She doesn’t have a partner with messy hair. What she has is a brutal ground game that potentially looks very interesting against division champion Valentina Shevchenko.

She can handle several bullies on her way to this fight.

“It was the first time I had been booed, so it was definitely a new experience and I knew something was bound to happen at some point in the fight,” Blanchfield said. “I feel like I handled it really well and it kind of gave me that extra push to win this.”


- Advertisement -

Latest Posts

Don't Miss