Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight scrappers Paige VanZant and Bec Rawlings went to war last night (Aug. 27, 2016) at UFC on FOX 21 inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. VanZant came in with a ton of hype but ultimately left the cage disappointed last time out. After taking some time off, the popular "12 Gauge" was planning to return to the win column in dominant fashion. On the other hand, Rawlings has actually looked better than ever as of late. Coming into this bout on a pair of victories, the Alliance MMA-trained fighter was also looking to make a statement.
To watch Paige VanZant vs. Bec Rawlings full fight video highlights from UFC on FOX 21 last night click here.
VanZant started the bout working from the outside with lots of kicks, while Rawlings waited for chances to box. VanZant tried to close distance into the clinch a couple times, but Rawlings did a nice job of denying her entries and trying to counter with punches. For much of the round, VanZant circled the outside and neither woman landed much. When VanZant did get in range, both fighters would land, but no one really took control of the fight.
Not much happened in the opening frame.
Despite the lack of action in first round, VanZant brought the excitement immediately in the next round. Moving much like she did in the first round, VanZant feinted with a low kick before jumping into a left high kick, connecting cleanly with her opponent’s jawline.
Rawlings went down hard and was barely awake when VanZant brought the follow up blows. None of those punches were devastating, but "Rowdy Bec" was way too far gone to recover.
While the overall fight was a bit slow, the finish was sensational. VanZant flipped the script by working her outside kickboxing, and it ended up working out spectacularly.
Early on, VanZant’s strategy was a bit confusing. She’s known for her conditioning and clinch work, which she ignored in order to strike from range. While I personally can attest that VanZant can kick with some power, it definitely caught her opponent and the crowd off-guard.
Despite the knockout victory, there’s no need to throw the 22 year old back into the title mix. VanZant is still young in her career, so another fight opposite an opponent outside the top 10 would make sense.
As for Rawlings, this was hardly her best performance. She thrives in brawls and did well when VanZant tried to force her way into the clinch, but Rawlings was unable to consistently strike from her range.
In the end, that cost her the bout.
While VanZant’s strategy was unexpected, Rawlings’ didn’t make all that much sense either. She hardly did anything in the first round herself, and she’s the fighter with the shallower gas tank. The pressure should’ve been on her to make something happen, but instead she allowed her foe to play her game.
Last night at UFC on FOX 21, Paige VanZant starched her opponent with a jumping switch kick. How high can the talented 22 year old climb in the Strawweight division?
For complete UFC on FOX 21: "Condit vs Maia" results and play-by-play, click HERE!