Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweights Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valerie Letourneau scrapped last night (Nov. 14, 2015) at UFC 193 inside Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
In both of her previous title fights, Jedrzejczyk was incredibly dominant. As the co-main event of a card headlined by Ronda Rousey, Jedrzejczyk was receiving more exposure than ever, and she hoped to capitalize on that with another brutal victory.
Similar to the other title challenger, Letourneau was a massive underdog being overlooked by just about everyone. Nevertheless, Letourneau had the opportunity to change all that by surprising the champion with her well-rounded game.
While Letourneau did impress, she ultimately came up short.
To watch Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau full fight video highlights from UFC 193 last night click here.
Jedrzejczyk opened with her usual volume, but Letourneau changed things around with a nice takedown. It took her a couple minutes to get back to her feet, but Jedrzejczyk eventually did, though Letourneau still controlled the fight from the clinch and landed some nice shots.
Once Jedrzejczyk did managed to create some distance, she went to work. Letourneau was willing to trade, but she got the worst of most exchanges. Plus, she ate a hard front kick, which definitely stunned the Canadian.
Still, Letourneau's control likely won her the opening round.
Jedrzejczyk opened up the second round by continuing her kickboxing assault, snapping her opponent's head back with punches. When Letourneau did manage to close the distance into the clinch, she failed to secure the takedown and ate some elbows for her trouble.
Though Letourneau was getting touched up, she stayed in the fight with her counter striking. Notably, her straight right hand was landing cleanly more often than not. However, Jedrzejczyk's active kicking game kept her ahead in terms of volume and were definitely doing damage as well.
After 10 minutes of combat, the scorecards were likely even.
In the third round, Letourneau's volume began to dip significantly. She still scored with her right hand when she threw it, but Jedrzejczyk's higher output was clearly allowing her to take control of the fight.
Additionally, Jedrzejczyk's low kicks were starting to take an effect. She had landed quite a few of them prior to this round, but she really stepped it up in the third and dug into her opponent's lead leg.
Overall, the third round went to Jedrzejczyk, and it was the clearest round yet.
Letourneau opened up more in the fourth round, particularly with her body kick. However, Jedrzejczyk's pace and low kicks clearly had taken their toll on Letourneau, as she was definitely slower than when the fight first started.
Meanwhile, Jedrzejczyk was relentless, as she constantly walked her opponent down with an unending volley of punches and kicks. While she didn't rock Letourneau, Jedrzejczyk did put a serious beating on her challenger.
Heading into the final round, Letourneau likely needed a finish to earn the victory.
All in all, the fifth round was more of the same. Letourneau started the round quickly, but her opponent's pace, kicks, and overall sharper striking game allowed her to control the fight and do damage.
So, while it was a valiant effort, Letourneau came up short, as the judges unanimously awarded Jedrzejczyk the decision victory.
While not as dominant as Jedrzejczyk's last two title fights, this was still a pretty classic performance from Joanna "Champion." Jedrzejczyk is a very sharp striker with an incredible output, which breaks down her opponent over time.
Simply compare the first round of the fight to the final. Early on, Letourneau was able to score some takedowns and kept up with the champion. However, by the championship rounds, Jedrzejczyk was easily controlling the distance and pace of the fight.
Once Jedrzejczyk is in her zone, she's a very difficult fighter to deal with. She simply throws so many damaging strikes that defending is difficult, and some are bound to get through. Eventually, that breaks down her opponent and makes her future strikes even more effective.
Following this title defense, there's one obvious option for Jedrzejczyk: She needs to rematch Claudia Gadelha, the woman who nearly beat her prior to winning the belt.
Though she came up short, Letourneau can hold her head high. She stayed in the fight the entire time and made it competitive, which is no small feat. Plus, she took some hard shots and never backed down from trading shots, which is certainly an admirable trait.
Unfortunately for the Canadian, she simply couldn't keep up with Jedrzejczyk. Letourneau never gassed and obviously came into this bout in great shape, but her opponent's volume was incredible. Once she let up the pressure, Jedrzejczyk took control and never allowed the momentum to shift back.
On the bright side, Jedrzejczyk has certainly solidified her position among the top of the division. When she returns to the cage, Jedrzejczyk should square off with the other former challenger to Jedrzejczyk's throne, Jessica Penne.
Last night, Jedrzejczyk defended her title in impressive fashion. How long can the Polish scrapper hold onto her belt?
For complete UFC 193 "Rousey vs Holm" results and play-by-play click HERE!