McCann: 'She'll try to wrestle-f**k me – I'll punch her head off!'

‘She’ll try to wrestle-f**k me and I’ll punch her head off for it!’: ‘Meatball’ Molly McCann aims to cap off incredible year at UFC 281 as she gears up to face jiu-jitsu specialist Erin Blanchfield

  • Molly McCann is looking to top off her incredible year with a third victory
  • ‘Meatball’ takes on Erin Blanchfield in pre-lims of UFC 281 in New York  
  • She is taking centre stage at the iconic Madison Square Garden for first time
  • Blanchfield is a jiu-jitsu specialist but McCann insists she is perfectly prepared 

Molly McCann may not have a stadium full of British fans to serenade her this Saturday but the iconic Madison Square Garden should make up for it. 

‘Meatball’ has arrived in New York, looking to cap off a remarkable year with victory over Erin Blanchfield at UFC 281. 

Having dispatched Luana Carolina and then Hannah Goldy, both by devastating spinning-elbow finishes – Meatball-mania is at an all-time high. 

Molly McCann picked up her 13th MMA win by knocking out Hannah Goldy in July

London’s O2 Arena was the venue for both of those $50,000 bonus-winning performances but the Liverpool native is in the Big Apple now. 

And the history of the place is not lost on her, serving as added motivation ahead of Saturday’s clash. 

She told Sportsmail: ‘It’s everything, coming from boxing, I remember being a little Meatball, sitting up watching the greats. 

‘Cinco de Mayo, Roy Jones Jr, I feel like those who step into the cage or ring at MSG are aware of the privilege it is to do that. Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this ever since I was a baby!’

Blanchfield, 23, is a rising star and dangerous ground fighter, an area McCann has struggled with in the past. 

McCann knocked out Luana Carolina back in March and has had a brilliant year

Erin Blanchfield is a specialist on the ground and will pose a threat to McCann

But she has worked tirelessly on her defensive grappling and is ready for the challenge the young American will pose. 

She went on: ‘I can’t wait to get in there and for her to try and wrestle-f**k me. I’ll absolutely punch her head off for trying. 

‘I don’t feel like there’s doubt anymore, the last two opponents have tried to grapple me, they’ve gone into deep waters and it’s not come off for them. I don’t see any difference in this. I feel like when she takes a lick, she’ll come for me.

‘I brought over American Olympic wrestlers to train with me, I train with some of the best grapplers in our gym. 

‘I’m from NextGen, that’s what we’re made of. I’m not going to lie, I spent a good four weeks with wrestling and jiu-jitsu. 

The spinning elbow is becoming something of a trademark for ‘Meatball’ McCann

‘My coaches have a teaching system. I just know, from A we go to B to C to D, rinse and repeat so I’m excited. 

‘I’m not also going to lie, sometimes I’ve gone into a fight where there’s some grappling and then been like “oh my f***ing God, it’s going to be a long night”. 

‘But I’m not scared, I’m ready to go and it’s not boxing, it’s MMA so I can’t just rely on my fists forever.’

McCann’s striking prowess and engaging personality has struck a chord with fans but Blanchfield will be looking to take her opponent down as soon as possible. 

A major turning point for McCann was losing by rear-naked choke against Gillian Robertson in front of her home fans in Liverpool back in 2018. 

McCann shared a stage with Paddy Pimblett this year but that won’t be the case in New York 

Since then, she has upgraded deficient areas of her all-round game and believes the proof will be in the pudding.  

‘I think you can see that I rise to an occasion and I get away with it by a fraction or get out of it by a hair,’ she continued. 

‘I don’t think it’s luck now, my level of grappling and competence is there now, normally I would be so scared but I’ve started every training round against the cage, in half, mounted, in back control, back triangle, in every s***e position I could be in. I’m coming out well and then getting up to knock people down.’

Watch Molly McCann take on Erin Blanchfield at UFC ® 281: ADESANYA vs. PEREIRA on Saturday November 12, live on BT Sport 3 from 1am, with early prelims on UFC FIGHT PASS starting at 11pm. 

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