Karolina Kowalkiewicz gave UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk everything she had at the blockbuster UFC 205 event on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, but it wasn’t enough. Jedrzejczyk’s mixed martial arts record has been spotless, and she wasn’t about to let her countrywoman change that.
It took her a minute to get into the flow of the fight, but Jedrzejczyk was the first to come alive. She started landing multiple punch-kick combinations, doing a good job keeping her opponent guessing. Kowalkiewicz seemed content to throw mostly hands, although it was Jedrzejczyk that quickly became the busier fighter and landed the harder shots.
They spent some time on the fence in the clinch. Neither held a distinct advantage there, but Jedrzejczyk was better at finding openings.
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In the second frame, Jedrzejczyk started to pull away, primarily by picking Kowalkiewicz apart with leg kicks. Kowalkeiwicz did a good job putting Jedrzejczyk on the fence on several occasions, but the champion held her own and more in the clinch, separated, and returned to chopping at the legs.
Kowalkeiwicz had an opportunity to swing the momentum back in her favor when she caught a Jedrzejczyk kick, but couldn’t upset her balance and again ate more damaging blows for her effort.
As the fight wore on, Jedrzejczyk only stepped up her game. She became more and more fluid in her attacks, as Kowalkiewicz became more hesitant. Not that Kowalkiewicz didn’t try, she continued to plow forward, attempting clinches and takedowns, but every time she did, she would receive a punishing blow from Jedrzejczyk, who would strike any time there was an opening… and many times when there wasn’t.
Kowalkiewicz and her cornermen looked particularly concerned following the end of the third round, when Jedrzejczyk did a heavy amount of damage with knees and elbows from the clinch as the round ended.
Like a shark, Jedrzejczyk smelled blood in the water and amped up her attacks at the beginning of round four. She landed multiple kick combinations, attacking from both sides in a blur, and then opening up with punches.
Then, out of nowhere, Kowalkiewicz landed a right hand that staggered the champion, sending her briefly to the canvas. Jedrzejczyk popped up and fought through her vulnerability, and a short time later was back on the attack. Kowalkiewicz had gained confidence, though, and tagged Jedrzejczyk a few more times before the end of the round. Jedrzejczyk finished strong, clinching and driving home several hard knees to the body.
As concerned as her corner was after round three, they were renewed after Kowalkiewicz’s success in round four, excitedly encouraging her heading into the final round.
Jedrzejczyk got her groove back a couple minutes into the fifth frame, letting her hands go with ferocity and continued her incessant leg kick attack. In the final minute, as they grappled along the fence, Jedrzejczyk punctuated the fight with several knees and elbows, not allowing Kowalkiewicz back into the fight.
Though she won a unanimous decision, Jedrzejczyk faced a tough fight and wore it on her face, a huge lump emerged over her right eye.
“Polish girls are the toughest in the world. Karolina was a very good challenge for me. She’s tough,” Jedrzejczyk said in the Octagon.
“You know why I stay a champion? Because I’m humble every day. I work hard every day. I’m very focused. I challenge myself every day. That’s why I’m still a champion. I didn’t disrespect Karolina. I knew that it was going to be a really tough fight.”
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Source: MMA Weekly