Red-hot Amanda Ribas — the No. 10-ranked women’s Strawweight — looked to keep her perfect record inside the Octagon (4-0) intact at the expense of No. 6-seeded Marina Rodriguez, who stepped up for the challenge when Michelle Waterson withdrew from the pay-per-view (PPV) event for undisclosed reasons. And after undefeated Lightweight sensation Ottman Azaitar made the stupidest of mistakes, their 115-pound showdown was promoted to UFC 257’s PPV main card, which took place inside Ethiad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Ribas controlled the action early, but then less than one minute into the second stanza, Rodriguez scored a highlight-reel finish to register the upset.
Ribas, the ground specialist, put the pressure on Rodriguez, the striking specialist, hoping to close the distance and avoid any big shots. Ribas continued to chase Rodriguez early, firing off low kicks and attempting to cut off the cage and trap her. About 90 seconds in and Ribas was able to secure a takedown, which Rodriguez defended from her side for a solid minute before Ribas was finally able to get into her closed guard. Ribas tried to rain down some ground-and-pound, but Rodriguez did a good job of keep her head pinned to her chest. Rodriguez tried to scoot herself toward the fence so she could try to stand up, but Ribas was able to keep her right where she wanted her ... near the center of the Octagon. Ribas landed a nice elbow and some short body punches, while Rodriguez was content to just lock in a body triangle from the bottom and ride out the opening frame.
Ribas’ corner advised her to make sure she got to half guard so she could do more damage, while Rodriguez’ team implored her to get going. Then Rodriguez dropped her with a hard shot and began to pour on more unanswered blows ... it looked like Ribas was done, but referee Herb Dean didn’t call it ... yet. Rodriguez walked away, thinking she had won, but Dean informed her that she wasn’t finished. But, Ribas was clearly out on her feet — so Rodriguez clipped her with an elbow, then two blistering overhand right hands and Dean, finally, waved off the action as Ribas teetered back-and-forth.
It looked like Dean touched Rodriguez during her initial onslaught, which was the reason she probably walked away. Either way, it didn’t matter, Rodriguez scored a huge win over a surging up-and-comer who still has a bright future ahead of her.
That’s how you kickoff a PPV.
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