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UFC Long Island - New Blood: Invicta’s latest championship export

UFC Fight Night: Ortega v Rodriguez Official Weigh-in Photo by Katie Schmeichel/Zuffa LLC

Invicta FC may no longer air on Fight Pass, but it still boasts an extremely strong roster. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where fighters’ records regularly fail to tell the proper tale, we look at its Strawweight queenpin, Emily Ducote, who will make her Octagon debut against Jessica Penne and UFC Long Island tomorrow afternoon (Sat, July 16, 2022).

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Emily “Gordinha” Ducote

Weight Class: Strawweight
Age: 28
Record: 11-6 (3 KO, 4 SUB)
Notable Victories: Alesha Zappitella, Danielle Taylor, Janaisa Morandin, Kathryn Paprocki

Ducote fell just short in her first bid at Invicta Strawweight gold, dropping a split decision to future UFC competitor, Kanako Murata, in 2019. When Murata got called up to the big show, Ducote claimed the vacant belt with a vicious knockout of Danielle Taylor, then followed up with a stoppage of Alesha Zappitella in her inaugural defense.

She steps in for Brianna Fortina on around six weeks’ notice.

Ultra-crisp combination punching is what’s carried Ducote to the top, particularly her counters. Her right hand is an absolute piston that she can uncork with zero hesitation or windup, as seen when it dropped Janaisa Morandin and froze Taylor in place for the lights-out head kick behind it. She mixes up her head and body attacks well, will double or triple up with one hand, and does a great job of catching her opponents mid-combination.

Honestly, her biggest problem outside of her limited head movement and tendency to throw naked low kicks in punching range is that she’s 5’2” with a 64-inch reach. The first round of her fight with the taller, rangier Juliana Lima saw her constantly throw tight, accurate combinations that each came up about six inches short. When forced to lead, she can be linear with her blitzes, and it wasn’t until Lima started getting sloppy with her distance management that Ducote was able to consistently put hands on her.

Grappling-wise, she’s shown off good timing and finishes with her double-leg takedowns at a distance. Though she didn’t have occasion to use it in her recent efforts, the Invicta commentators spoke highly of her ground-and-pound, and she’s wrapped up rear-naked chokes in the past. Defensively, she fended off all but six of the more than 20 shots Murata made and got up fairly quickly when Zappitella timed Ducote’s left hook and dragged her to the canvas.

That said, she did struggle in the clinch against the admittedly decorated Murata and gave up control time to Zappitella, so that’s an area to work on.

Ducote is far, far better than her record suggests and is a worthy addition to UFC’s Strawweight division. I’m looking forward to seeing how her striking holds up inside the Octagon.

Opponent: She squares off with the resurgent Jessica Penne, who hasn’t missed a beat since her lengthy stay on the sidelines. I favor Ducote because she’s the much better striker and will get the kinds of close-quarters engagements she wants, but Penne is a live dog.


Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Long Island fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Long Island: “Ortega vs. Yair” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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