UFC Fight Night 57 Newcomer Breakdown: Kailin Curran

Kailin-CurranPrior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at strawweight Kailin Curran as she takes on Paige VanZant at UFC Fight Night 57.   Kailin Curran Hometown: Ewa Beach, Hawaii Age: 23 Height: 5’3” Weight class: Strawweight Camp: Reign MMA Career Record: 3-0 Key Wins: None Key Losses: None   Background The first Hawaiian female to be signed by the UFC, Curran began her career in martial arts starting with kickboxing in 2006. In addition, she has some experience in wrestling at the high school level. All her wins are by decision, so she hasn’t shown a penchant for finishes despite less than stellar competition.   Strengths

  • Kickboxing background is evident
  • Uses kicks well to set up her punches
  • Decent one / two combination with her punches
  • Has a nice front kick which she lands to the body
  • Does a nice job landing lower leg kicks to limit opponent’s movement
  • Uses cage well to help her defend takedowns
  • Capable offensive wrestler; primarily with throws / judo style tosses
  • Fights at similar pace for full three rounds


  • Doesn’t have much punching power
  • Limits her combinations to just two punches
  • Overextends in volume combinations leaving herself open to the counter
  • Striking limited in close range
  • Striking defense (after the initial first punch) is poor
  • Can be pushed against the fence
  • Too aggressive in top control and loses positions

  0CurranGrade   Matchup with Paige Vanzant This is a strawweight matchup between two fighters without much experience. That’s the problem with forecasting how this fight will turn out as both fighters have only had a couple fights and are both coming off of long layoffs. For the most part, this is a striker against grappler matchup. Curran is a decent kickboxer with relatively good one / two strike combinations. What she does seem to lack is significant volume and power. On the flip side, VanZant took all of what Tecia Torres threw at her and was able to handle it without being too rattled. Torres is a better striker and has much more power than Curran. Don’t expect Curran to be able to phase VanZant on the feet. Curran should win the open striking exchanges. VanZant will look to make things ugly and I can see a significant part of it happening along the cage. Curran is not very good in these type of situations and expect VanZant to work in some dirty boxing while she attempts to score some takedowns. Ultimately, what this fight will come down to is how successful VanZant is in securing takedowns. If she’s able to gain top control even a couple times during the bout, she likely wins.   UFC Ceiling At only 23 years of age, Kailin Curran is very much new to the MMA scene. Her striking technique is pretty fluid, but her lack of power is certainly a concern as she faces more balanced and diverse fighters in her career. She’s young and is training at a high level camp in Reign so she certainly could improve significantly in the coming years. However, she will need to increase her output in the striking exchanges and further develop her wrestling or she will not be able to compete with the top 10 fighters in this division.   Fight Film Check out Kailin Curran in some of his recent fights: Kailin Curran vs. Yoo Jin Jung https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDy2-cH1zKg#t=1144   Kailin Curran vs. Emi Tomimatsu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWNgVxmcVfw

Written by Jay Primetown

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