Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweights Bethe Correia and Julie Kedzie squared off in the opening main card bout of last night's (Dec. 6, 2013) UFC Fight Night 33 event from Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Queensland, Australia.
The fight was a pivotal one for both women in the rapidly-developing UFC female arena.
Correia made her UFC debut "down under" last night, bringing an undefeated 6-0 mixed martial arts (MMA) record into the bout. "Pitbull" was looking to make a name for herself in the Octagon against a foe who had fought some of the best.
Kedzie came into the bout having lost her last three fights. Those losses came against top competition such as Miesha Tate and Alexis Davis, but Kedzie still needed a victory to prove that she could still fight at an elite level.
And she put forth a valiant effort.
Unfortunately, Kedzie fell just short in her bid to get back on the winning track. Correia edged out the more experienced fighter to take home a very close split decision. Let's take a look back at how Correia got the job done in Brisbane.
Correia proved true to her nickname early on, looking to establish her boxing by taking the center of the Octagon. Kedzie showed some good kicks. Correia pushed Kedzie up against the cage only to see her get loose. Kedzie went to work with a few solid knees before Correia ended the first round with a takedown.
Kedzie appeared to open up her striking as the second round began, landing some nice punches and kicks. The offense wasn't enough to stop Correia from coming forward, however. Kedzie hit Correia with a hard front kick. Correia dropped but recovered to keep moving forward and land some good punches of her own. She continued to try to neutralize Kedzie in the clinch along the cage wall.
The last round saw both fighters unleash some big shots. Kedzie snapped a good combo but Correia fought back with some hard hooks. Correia grabbed a body kick from Kedzie and took the fight to the mat. Kedzie scrambled to get out of the bad position but Correia took her back. Kedzie escaped to throw a wild wheel kick that missed. Correia again went for a takedown but couldn't capitalize and the fight ended with a back-and-forth exchange on the feet.
In the end, Correia was declared the winner by split decision. It extended her undefeated record to 7-0. She looked good in the win but could have pulled it off a bit more convincingly. She's going to have to put forth more impressive efforts if she wants to advance to the top of the competitive UFC women's bantamweight division. It looks like she has a good all-around game and is in top physical shape, so she could become a contender with two to three more solid wins under her belt.
For Kedzie, the loss was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back as she announced her retirement from MMA following the disheartening loss. She's been in the game for almost 10 years now. With four straight losses, she probably doesn't see much of a way to climb back into relevancy.
That's too bad, because the argument could have been made that Kedzie beat Correia. Perhaps her heart isn't truly in the fight game anymore. If that's the case, then she made the right decision.
Bethe Correia made her successful UFC debut by defeating veteran Julie Kedzie at UFC Fight Night 33. Does she have the skills to rise to the top in UFC, or will the best female fighters in the world destroy her?