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‘Gangstas on the spot’: Liana Jojua and teammate Avsaragova enjoy UFC Fight Island sun but business beckons in form of Maverick

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UFC flyweight Liana Jojua and divison queen Valentina Shevchenko. © Getty Images / Zuffa LLC
‘Shevchenko is better than some men’: UFC’s Liana Jojua talks ambitions after impressing on Fight Island (VIDEO)

Maverick, her opponent on Saturday, has a 7-2 record in MMA and is no stranger to forcing submissions having done so in five of those wins.

The 23-year-old PhD student – who is having to balance homework and teaching classes with her training on Fight Island – is keen to face Jojua but remains wary of her.

“I think the UFC gave her to me to kind of welcome me into the UFC. That’s how I feel about it,” Maverick told Cageside Press. “I wouldn’t say it’s an easy fight, I never underestimate my opponents, I treat it like it’s the hardest fight ever.”

The American – nicknamed ‘The Fear’ – caught the eye when she won the eight-way Invicta FC Phoenix Series 2 flyweight tournament in September last year.

She beat Victoria Leonardo and Shanna Young in single-round bouts to reach the final where she overcame DeAnna Bennett via a third-round neck crank, avenging a defeat to the veteran fighter earlier in the year in the process.

“The tournament was one of those things that got a lot of attention for me, since I fought three times in a night. It kind of gave me that fame that I hadn’t had yet,” Maverick said of the competition that propelled her to the UFC. “People started recognizing my name a little more, within the division especially.”

Both Jojua and Maverick have been soaking up the sun as they prepare for Saturday’s contest – in the Georgian’s case alongside her friend and teammate Diana Avsaragova, who has signed with Bellator but is yet to make her debut for the promotion. 

Jojua and ‘Pantera’ have both taken advantage of the idyllic backdrop for photo sessions, including next to the iconic beachfront Fight Island sign. 

On Saturday, however, business beckons for Jojua as she hopes to overcome her opponent – and the odds – to pick up a second win on the UFC’s Fight Island paradise.  

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