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UFC Fight Island 7 - New Blood: La Pantera de Panama

UFC Fighter Portraits Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

We’re just two weeks into 2021 and we’ve already seen a fair amount of fight shuffling, resulting in a glut of newcomers. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I will never forgive LFA for not making a video archive of its AXS TV fights, we look at an entertaining women’s Bantamweight stepping up on short notice (details).

Joselyne “La Pantera” Edwards

Weight Class: Bantamweight
Age: 25
Record: 9-2 (5 KO, 3 SUB)
Notable Victories: Brenda Gonzales

Edwards — who had won six straight to open her professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career — claimed the King of the Cage Bantamweight title with a second-round armbar of Brenda Gonzales. Though she failed to secure the LFA belt in a subsequent bout with Sarah Alpar, she ended a nearly two-year layoff afterward with a 28-second knockout finish.

She steps in for Bethe Correia, who required an emergency appendectomy, on short notice.

Due to AXS TV not bothering to set up an archive before shuttering, I was unable to locate much footage of the Alpar fight, so I’ll have to work with the bouts immediately before and after.

“La Pantera” is an aggressive kickboxer by trade, utilizing a stiff jab and heavy kicks alongside swarming hook flurries and strong knees inside. She boasts several nice tricks on the feet, such as following knees or kicks with punches from the same side, and can deal some real damage when the opportunity to open up arises. Where she struggles is with the aforementioned flurries; rather than keep her right hand straight and properly utilize her size, she’ll load up and wing it as a hook. That works as a setup for her kicks, but can leave her vulnerable to counters when she really commits.

On the grappling side, she’s got some nice clinch positioning and throws throws and a dangerous armbar off of her back, but the rest of her ground game doesn’t quite hold up; her attempts to take the back after flinging Gonzales to the mat proved awkward and resulted in her losing position. In addition, the commentators in the Alpar fight claimed she willingly engaged a superior grappler in the latter’s wheelhouse, which speaks poorly of her fight IQ.

Even in a division as talent-starved as women’s Bantamweight, I don’t see Edwards going super far. Though a very capable striker, she’s not devastating enough in her area of expertise to make up for the visible flaws in her game. That said, she’s still young and fights out of a solid camp in Kings MMA El Paso, so my assessment could very well be outdated already.

Opponent: She faces Chinese slugger Wu Yanan, who’s 1-2 thus far in her staggered Octagon career. Both women figure to get the slugfest they crave, making this match up a potential sleeper hit. I favor Wu by a hair, though it’s a coin flip.

Tape:


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 7 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance at 3 p.m. ET on ABC (also on ESPN+).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Island 7: “Holloway vs. Kattar” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.