Agnieszka Niedzwiedz didn’t make it easy, but there was simply no getting rid of 125-pound champion Jennifer Maia in the headlining affair of Friday’s Invicta FC 26.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Maia (15-4-1), who was knocked down a couple of times by a perpetually unbothered Niedzwiedz (10-1). But, while Niedzwiedz herself stayed in the fight until the final bell, Maia was ultimately the fresher fighter as the fight advanced into the championship rounds. Maia’s ability to recover from danger and the late rally, paired with her efficient striking, did the trick.
With across-the-board 49-46, 49-46 and 49-46 scores, Maia defended the 125-pound title she’s held since 2016. As a bonus, she had her post-fight interviewed translated by none other than the UFC women’s bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.
Poland’s Niedzwiedz, in turn, suffered the first loss of her pro career at only 22. The headliner streamed live on UFC Fight Pass from Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo.
The first round saw Niedzwiedz going in assertively with three and four-strike combos, while Maia seemed more interested in keeping the distance. The challenger had more volume, but the champion responded and countered accordingly. Maia was the first one to connect a somewhat significant blow in a technical round, but Niedzwiedz turned the tables later on with a right hand that knocked down Maia. Niedzwiedz followed her to the ground but a finish didn’t materialize.
Niedzwiedz, once more, rocked Maia early in Round 2. Maia, however, was able to keep it together long enough to drive the challenger to the fence. There, Maia clinched and kept just enough pressure to recover. Niedzwiedz threw knees and angled for a takedown but didn’t land anything. As they broke off, strikes were thrown on both ends toward the center of the cage. Despite the early scare, Maia looked alert. The champ peppered in some solid punches, but Niedzwiedz remained stone cold as she ate the damage. The round ended with the two fighters clinched against the fence – Maia, however, was the one in control.
Maia pushed the pace to start off Round 3, landing the harder shots on a still-game Niedzwiedz. The Polish challenger’s judo background paid off almost three minutes into it as she took Maia down and landed in favorable position. Maia managed to restore guard but, despite her efforts to keep Niedzwiedz close, a few elbows made their way to her face. Niedzwiedz, however, eventually relented, and the two went back to their feet.
The fourth round took place mostly with uneventful clinch battles against the cage. While they took turns, and both landed some blows in the brief moments they broke away, Maia controlled most of the action. Niedzwiedz came out aggressively in the final frame, which saw the two fighters once more engaged in overall balanced striking exchanges in the center of the cage. Maia looked fresher and landed the more damaging blows, but Niedzwiedz pressed on.
Both fighters looked impressively active at the end of a balanced 25-minute match – which they sealed with a hug. Niedzwiedz didn’t take the win but certainly earned some serious respect by hanging tough in one grind of a fight.
Full Invicta 26 results:
- Champ Jennifer Maia def. Agnieszka Niedzwiedz via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) – to retain flyweight title
- Mackenzie Dern def. Kaline Medeiros via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 4:45
- Janaisa Morandin def. Kinberly Novaes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 30-27)
- Vanessa Porto def. Milana Dudieva via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:02
- Virna Jandiroba def. Amy Montenegro via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:50
- Amber Brown def. Tessa Simpson via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 0:50
- Karina Rodriguez def. Christine Ferea via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Kay Hansen def. Emilee Prince via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:23
For more on Invicta FC 26, check out the MMA Events section of the site.
Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie