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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweights Paige VanZant and Felice Herrig clashed last night (Sat., April 18, 2015) at UFC on FOX 15 inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
VanZant made her Octagon debut in Nov. 2014, earning her division's first UFC finish. Since then, VanZant picked up some major momentum thanks to a Reebok sponsorship and relocating to Team Alpha Male.
After losing in the second round on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Herrig impressed in her debut with an arm bar victory. Opposite VanZant, Herrig looked to steal her opponent's momentum and leapfrog some of the women ranked above her.
The fight moved into the clinch very quickly, as VanZant attacked with knees, while Herrig went after punches. When VanZant landed a headlock throw from inside the clinch, Herrig escaped out the back door and took her opponent's back.
While Herrig managed to threat with a rear naked choke and arm bar, VanZant escaped before long. Back on their feet, both women scored with strikes in the clinch before VanZant took her opponent down with a clinch throw. This time, she kept top position and slammed some ground strikes into her opponent, ending the round on top.
It was a close, competitive round to start the fight, but VanZant finished the round strong.
Like the first round, much of the second round took place in the clinch. To start the round, VanZant was landing the better strikes in the clinch, and generally winning the underhook battle as well.
There were numerous takedown scrambles in this round from a few positions, but VanZant wound up on top each and every time. VanZant had a clear athleticism and scrambling advantage, and those aids were boosted by "12 Gauge's" superior cardio.
All in all, VanZant was pretty dominant in the middle frame.
VanZant was quick to hit a clinch takedown to start the third round and never let up with her ground strikes. VanZant simply mauled her opponent from the top, landing a countless number of strikes while Herrig just tried to survive the barrage.
It was brutal. In the end, the judges awarded Paige VanZant each of the rounds for a unanimous decision, with two of the judges scoring the third as a 10-8.
This was an excellent showing for VanZant, who's conditioning and athleticism really shown through. There's still room for improvement, but VanZant's clinch wrestling -- which was a weakness in her last bout -- was more than on point here, as she threw her opponent around for much of three rounds.
When VanZant is on top of her opponent, she's simply dominant. Regardless of what position her opponent's puts her in, VanZant is able to slam punches and elbows into her opponent. Even if her aggression does get her reversed, VanZant's scrambling is good enough to get her back on top before long.
For her next bout, VanZant should step into the Octagon with Maryna Moroz, who recently upset Joanne Calderwood. She's now solidified as top 10 fighter, so the victor of that match could end up in a title fight.
Herrig simply got outworked in this fight. She also made some tactical errors, as she continually pushed into the clinch even after VanZant made it clear she was the more active and better fighter in that area. If Herrig had attempted to keep her distance, perhaps she would've done better.
In addition, Joe Rogan was right on the money when he pointed out that Herrig did not scramble hard. Whenever it was unclear who would wind up on top, VanZant inevitably got the better position, as Herrig was more willing to cede top position.
After this disappointing loss, Herrig will take a step back in the rankings. Her next opponent will likely also be coming off a loss, such as Angela Magana.
At UFC on FOX 15, Paige VanZant put a solid beating on Felice Herrig. How high can the Team Alpha Male product climb in the strawweight division?
For complete UFC on FOX 15 "Machida vs Rockhold" results and play-by-play click HERE!