For the first time in two years, Maryna Moroz will compete inside the UFC octagon – and she will be doing it against a bitter rival.
Moroz takes on 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 gotten very personal over the past year, with things being said in the media and social media leading to a post-fight caption.
No matter how long it lasts, Moroz has a strong prediction for his opponent.
“Before the fight, [Mariya’s] the head will be the potato,” Moroz told MMA Fighting. “After the fight, his head will be mashed potatoes.”
Last July, Moroz spoke with MMA Vestnik and accused Agapova of drug addiction, dangerous behavior and making threats against his American Top Team teammates. Agapova manager Alex Davis denied the allegations and said the Dana WhiteContender series of alum was dealing with “anxiety attacks,” which led her to seek the proper help.
Moroz has had several fights booked since losing to Mayra Bueno Silva in her last appearance in March 2020, but she was forced to withdraw from all of them. Moroz told MMA Fighting that this fallout stemmed from the inability to obtain documents to travel from his native Ukraine.
After Agapova’s third-round submission against Sabina Mazo at October’s UFC Vegas 39 event, Agapova called Moroz. Shortly after, Moroz was already working on preparing the documents, which she believes Agapova did not expect to happen.
“I used to say everyday, ‘Please give me documents, I need documents, I want this fight,'” Moroz said. “I think she knew I had no papers. She was talking shit, ‘Let’s go fight. You’re scared, you don’t want to fight”, but she knew that I had no papers, and she thought that this fight [wouldn’t be made]. But the UFC gave me this fight, [helped me] get documents, so I’m happy.
As for Agapova’s overall performance in her win over Mazo, Moroz was not impressed at all. She said she hasn’t seen any development in Agapova’s game since they trained together at ATT. She thinks the outcome of the fight has more to do with Mazo’s battle to reach the ladder than the actual fight in the octagon.
“I fought Mazo, and she’s a big, strong girl, but I know sometimes Mazo has a hard time losing weight, and I think that was a big problem with Mazo,” Moroz said. “Agapova, she showed the same [things] she showed in ATT before. She goes for a run, she never tries to pressure, she just runs and tries to touch her ass on the cage.
“She doesn’t have good jiu-jitsu. I trained with her, she has a good defense, but I haven’t seen good level jiu-jitsu. Mazo missed a punch [and got dropped], then 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 toughest fights in the UFC, but it was terrible. She hits really hard, low kick, high kick, everything. But I prepared for everything for this fight. she will have a surprise [coming to her].”
While the fight will be personal for both contestants, Moroz is more focused on finally getting to return to the octagon in hopes of extending her winning streak to three fights.
For those expecting a post-fight hatchet burial, Moroz doesn’t see it happening.
“This fight, for me, is more [being] back,” Moroz explained. “I want to be in the top 15, and this fight I want to show my level and after that really face really tough fighters.
“But we will never be friends. I don’t have friends like her. I have nice, elegant, intelligent friends who don’t seek attention [like her]. Every day, ‘Look at me’, but I think she’s scared [of this fight]. Every day she posts and talks, talks, talks. ‘Maryna, fight me underground in Miami,’ but she’s training at the UFC [Performance] Institute. We will never be friends.