Felice Herrig and Justine Kish met in a women’s Strawweight bout tonight (Sun., June 25, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 112 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., on FOX Sports 1.
Herrig had bounced back from a high-profile loss to Paige VanZant by winning two straight, the most recent an upset win over previously undefeated prospect Alexa Grasso. Against former kickboxer Justine Kish, she looked to repeat that feat. Kish entered the bout undefeated (6-0), with her two most recent wins coming in UFC.
However, she left the venue tonight with an imperfect record, dropping a unanimous decision to Herrig, who completely abused her with ground-and-pound in the third and final round.
Felice was wearing aqua blue in her cornrows, and the start of the fight saw a delay as someone found Felice Herrig a mouthpiece. Kish opened with a big headkick that Herrig countered with a combination. They tied up in the clinch and Kish tried a throw with a headlock, but Herrig countered and in the scramble took Kish’s back. Kish managed to power out of the poor position and get back to her feet. They locked up and Herrig had trouble getting Kish down with a full bodylock, but they scrambled again and Herrig got into top position, riding Kish against the cage. Kish tried to shrimp into Herrig from half guard and Herrig floated on top, gaining full mount. Kish rolled and nearly got free, but ended up with Herrig on her back. Kish went back and forth from being in mount and giving up her back. Herrig dropped for an armbar, and gave up position, with Kish, on top, going for a headlock. They broke apart and Herrig landed a couple nice combinations. When Herrig shot for a takedown, Kish held onto a whizzer and put Herrig on her back, trying to land elbows from the top. Herrig got under Kish’s arm and got back to her feet, ending the round pressing Kish against the cage, with Kish holding her in a front headlock.
Herrig countered a kick with another combination. Her striking has looked very fluid ever since the Grasso fight, and she was tagging Kish with nice combinations. She landed two nice left hooks in a row on Kish, who charged slowly forward like a tank, undeterred. They exchanged, and Kish found her range as well. Kish was smiling savagely. Herrig landed another left hook. Kish landed a leg kick. Kish hit a body kick. Kish got Herrig in the double collar tie and snapped her head all the way down, but Herrig got back up. Kish landed a body shot, then whiffed on a spinning back fist. They tied up, and Herrig landed a nice hip toss, getting side control. Kish quickly got half guard. Kish gave up side control, and Herrig quickly took mount, then back control. Kish managed to twist around and get on top in Herrig’s guard. Herrig tried an armbar, but Kish escaped and got to side control, then three quarter mount, posturing up to land three or four strikes before the round ended.
Kish landed a body kick to open the third round. They exchanged, and Felice grabbed a bodylock and drove Kish to the ground. Kish almost managed to turn into top position, but Felice held her down and advanced to full mount. When Kish turned, she took Kish’s back. Kish went back to mount, and managed to turn Herrig and get up. Herrig jumped on her like a backpack and locked in a rear-naked choke. Kish refused to tap, flopped to her back, and somehow twisted out of what looked like a sure finish. Herrig stayed on top, posturing in mount to land ground and pound. Kish, having shown tremendous physical strength and remarkable resilience, appeared to finally be getting tired. She tried to power up again and Herrig took her back, posturing up and landing punches to the sides of her head. Kish tried to peel Herrig off her back one last time, but Herrig held on to maintain her position as the bell sounded.
Herrig said in her post-fight interview that Justine Kish is one of the toughest fights at 115 pounds, and she said she is getting better and better, and starting to believe in herself more and more. Self-belief appears to be one of the keys in her recent success, as she has been looser and more confident in her most recent wins against undefeated prospects. This win should line her up to face contenders at 115.
Official result: Felice Herrig defeats Justine Kish by unanimous decision (30-26x2, 29-27)
For complete UFC Fight Night 112 coverage, including play-by-play, click here.