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UFC Fight Night 121 card: Bec Rawlings vs Jessy Rose-Clark preview

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Torres vs Rawlings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight scrappers Bec Rawlings and Jessy Rose-Clark will collide this Saturday (Nov. 18, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 121 inside Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia.

Hopefully, the Aussies are excited for their countrywomen, because this is otherwise a terribly lackluster co-main event. Rawlings’ UFC career has not being going precisely as planned. She’s won just two of five fights, and one of those was a controversial decision. She’s moving up to Flyweight for this bout on the heels of consecutive losses, and it might just be her final chance inside the Octagon. Rawlings was supposed to square off with Joanne Calderwood, a fellow 125-pound striker. Instead, she’ll face short-notice replacement Jessy Rose-Clark, who has faced some quality names in her 12-fight career.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both women:

Bec Rawlings
Record: 7-6
Key Wins: Seo Hee Ham (UFC Fight Night 85), Jasminka Cive (Invicta FC 5), Lisa Ellis (UFC Fight Night 65)
Key Losses: Paige VanZant (UFC on FOX 21), Tecia Torres (UFC Fight Night 101), Heather Jo Clark (TUF 20 Finale), Carla Esparza (Invicta FC 4)
Keys to Victory: The move to Flyweight is an interesting one for Rawlings. A physical brawler who relied on her size and toughness a great deal, the less severe weight cut could allow Rawlings to push a harder pace or make her punches less impactful.

Only one way to find out.

Rawlings has reasonably solid hands and is facing a short-notice opponent. There’s no reason to stray out of her comfort zone, as Rose-Clark is tough herself but has been out-struck before. “Rowdy Bec” would be best-advised to push the pace and keep this standing, where she’s best prepared for a firefight. If she is throwing leather consistently, she has a fair chance to empty her foe’s gas tank, particularly if she mixes in some punches to the mid-section.

VS.

Jessy Rose-Clark
Record: 7-4 (1)
Key Wins: Carina Damm (Titan FC 45), Kate da Silva (XFC: Australia 45)
Key Losses: Sarah Kaufman (Battlefield Fighting Championships), Pam Sorenson (Invicta FC 20), Pannie Kianzad (Invicta FC 13)
Keys to Victory: Rose-Clark is a kickboxer first and foremost with an aggression submission game on the mat. This will be Rose-Clark’s first fight at 125 pounds, and considering she’s missed weight at Bantamweight before, it will be interesting to see how the Australian veteran manages the weight cut.

Assuming her performance isn’t terribly hindered by the weight cut and short-notice, Rose-Clark does have a chance here. She’s the more mobile striker and kicks well, something Rawlings struggled with opposite Paige VanZant. Unlike “PVZ,” Rose-Clark is also a solid counter striker.

Plus, there’s real potential for Rose-Clark to have a significant size advantage. Rawlings struggled with getting out-wrestled repeatedly at 115 pounds while being the larger woman, so that’s another potential path to victory for the UFC newcomer.

Bottom Line: There’s a grand total of like a dozen Flyweight women on the roster at the moment, so a single impressive victory could be huge.

This is an important bout for Rawlings especially. She probably won’t be released with a loss, but three straight defeats means it’s a possibility. On the other hand, a victory would grant Rawlings a fresh start. Perhaps the extra 10 pounds will help her solve the issues that plagued her at Strawweight.

If it does, she’ll be ranked Top 15 by default, which is better than no ranking!

As for Rose-Clark, she’s a complete unknown to most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans. She may be the underdog, but that also means she has a blank slate to build from. If she goes out there and looks great, she’s an immediate new face in the title mix at 125 pounds. On the other hand, a loss isn’t ideal, but at least she’ll have a spot on UFC’s roster moving forward.

At UFC Fight Night 121, Bec Rawlings and Jessy Rose-Clark will battle in the co-main event. Which woman will be named the victor?