This is a situation where a lack of information is really inhibiting my ability to break down this fight. I was only able to find very limited footage on both Valerie Letourneau and Elizabeth Phillips. For both fighters, what I did find was from early in their respective careers (for Phillips, I only found a single amateur fight).
Letourneau enters with a 5-3 professional record, but it’s not your typical 5-3 record. Two of her losses are by split decision, to the undefeated Claudia Gadelha and to upcoming UFC title challenger Alexis Davis. Her other loss was by TKO against Sarah Kaufman. Letourneau lacks a win against an established opponent but her losses have been competitive fights against very tough opponents.
Letourneau’s background is in striking, and it shows as she was able to drop Kaufman with a head kick in the first round of their match. Her punching techniques aren’t quite as impressive as her kicks, but she at least enters with a variety of striking techniques. Her defense wasn’t as polished as I would like to see, but again, what I saw was from her second professional fight in 2007. It’s quite possible that Letourneau has improved dramatically since then.
Letourneau also appears to have developed some skill on the ground. She does have a victory by submission due to armbar and threatened an armbar against Kaufman. However, she doesn’t appear to be much of a wrestler as she was forced to fight off her back for a significant portion of that fight.
As for Phillips, I only saw one of her fights, her third amateur fight against Melissa Deer. I don’t like using such early fights to evaluate a fighter’s skills because they usually improve their skill set by a significant amount by the time they enter the UFC.
With that said, if Phillips hasn’t changed much, then what she brings to the cage is a striking style that involves nothing but alternating left and right hooks. That style worked against Melissa Deer but I doubt it will work against the more polished Letourneau.
Again, the amount of information I have about this fight really is insufficient to make an informed prediction. From what I have seen, I believe Letourneau is probably the more polished striker and should be favored to win the fight. However, I’d take what I have to say about this one with a lot of salt. This is a fight where I’ll be learning about the participants instead of expecting things to play out a certain way.
Pick: Valerie Letourneau by decision