Mike Roach, Zuffa LLC
For the first time in two years, Maryna Moroz will compete inside the UFC octagon — and she will do so against a bitter rival.
Moroz faces former teammate Mariya Agapova at UFC 272. The event takes place March 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The rivalry between Moroz and Agapova has grown very personal over the last year, with things said in the media and social media leading to a post-fight callout.
No matter how long it lasts, Moroz has a strong prediction for her opponent.
“Before the fight, [Mariya’s] head will be potato,” Moroz told MMA Fighting. “After fight, her head will be mashed potato.”
This past July, Moroz spoke with MMA Vestnik and accused Agapova of drug abuse, dangerous behavior, and making threats against teammates at American Top Team. Agapova’s manager Alex Davis denied the allegations and said the Dana White’s Contender Series alum was dealing with “anxiety attacks,” which led her to get the appropriate help.
Moroz has had multiple fights booked since defeating Mayra Bueno Silva in her most recent appearance in March 2020, but she has be forced to withdraw from all of them. Moroz told MMA Fighting those fallouts stemmed from not being able to obtain documents in order to travel from her native Ukraine.
Following Agapova’s third-round submission in over Sabina Mazo at October’s UFC Vegas 39 event, Agapova called out Moroz. Not long after that, Moroz was already working on getting the paperwork ready, which she believes Agapova wasn’t expecting to happen.
“I said every day, ‘Please give me documents, I need documents, I want this fight,’” Moroz said. “I think she knew I didn’t have documents. She was talking sh*t, ‘Let’s go fight. You’re scared, you don’t want to fight,’ but she knew I didn’t have documents, and she thought this fight [wouldn’t be made]. But the UFC gave me this fight, [helped me] get documents, so I’m happy.”
In regards to Agapova’s performance overall in her victory over Mazo, Moroz wasn’t all that impressed. She said she hasn’t seen any evolution in Agapova’s game since they trained together at ATT. She believes the result of the bout had more to do with Mazo’s battle to make it to the scale than the actual bout in the octagon.
“I fought Mazo, and she’s a strong, big girl, but I know sometimes Mazo has a problem cutting weight, and I think that was a big problem with Mazo,” Moroz said. “Agapova, she showed same [things] she showed in ATT before. She’ll run, she never tries to pressure, she just runs and tries to touch her butt on the cage.
“She doesn’t have good jiu-jitsu. I trained with her, she has some good defense, but I didn’t see good level jiu-jitsu. Mazo missed a punch [and got dropped], then got choked. I can’t say it was a good fight. It was a fight, but I didn’t see [anything] high-level. When I fought her, she was a very dangerous girl. [She brought] a lot of pressure, it was one of my hardest fights in the UFC, but this was terrible. She punches very hard, low kick, high kick, everything. But I’ve prepared for everything for this fight. She will have a surprise [coming to her].”
While the fight will be a personal one for both competitors, Moroz is more focused on the fact that she’s finally going to be able to return to the octagon in hopes of extending her winning streak to three fights.
For those expecting a burying of the hatchet following the bout, Moroz doesn’t see it happening.
“This fight, for me, it’s more about [being] back,” Moroz explained. “I want to be in the top 15, and this fight, I want to show my level and after this really face really tough fighters.
“But we’ll never be friends. I don’t have friends like her. I have friends who are kind, elegant, intelligent, not focused on getting attention [like her]. Every day, ‘Look at me,’ but I think she’s scared [of this fight]. Every day, she posts, and talk, talk, talk. ‘Maryna, fight me underground in Miami,’ but she’s training at UFC [Performance] Institute. We’ll never be friends.”