Julianna Pena enjoyed the biggest win of her career against Cat Zingano tonight at UFC 200, outgrappling her in the second and third rounds to claim a unanimous decision victory.
Zingano fires off straight punches as she charges forward and gets the clinch against the cage. She lands a good takedown and is immediately into side control.
Pena gets to her knees and stands up, pushing Zingao into the cage. Zingano able to drive Pena back to the mat. Again Pena does well to stand, although she eats a knee from Zingano on the way up.
Pena in the clinch against the cage and then it’s her turn to land a takedown. Working from half guard. Zingano scrambles to her knees. Pena trying to work for a guillotine, but doesn’t secure it and Zingao ends up on top in her guard.
Pena landing palm strikes to the side of Zangano’s head. Busy work from Pena from her back. Zingao not able to do much on top so far.
A couple of elbows for Zingano now as she presses Pena uncomfortably into the cage. Nice elbow from Cat. Pena spins around using the cage, but eats a punch as she does so.
Pena able to get to her feet and gets aggressive, landing a few straight punches as the round comes to a close.
Zingano with a flurry of punches to start the second, then a kick and into a takedown. Zingano settles into Pena’s guard.
Zingano lands a punch and then backs up and gives Pena an opporunity to stand. However, almost immediately she lands a beautiful takedown.
Zingano tries for a triangle choke, but doesn’t have it and Pena is able to get on top. Bit of an odd tangle of bodies here and Zingao works to her knees. Pena works around to her back as Zingao stays turtled.
Pena trying to get her hooks in, but is unsuccessful at the first attempt. She continues to work for it though and is successful now, locking in the body triangle to keep her in place.
Now Pena’s trying for the rear-naked choke with a minute to go. Pena with a few punches and then is back looking for the choke. Zingano defends well though to prevent her from doing so and that’s the end of the round.
Cat into the clinch to start the third, but it’s Pena who is able to land the takedown. She moves to half guard. nice elbows to the head from Pena now.
She works body and head punches now. She tries to get side control, but has to settle for half guard for the time being. Nice elbow strikes.
Zingano tries to scramble, but Pena moves to side control. Pena lands punches to the side of her body. Zingano moves to her knees, turtled up.
Two minutes to go as Pena works to take Zingano’s back. She gets her hooks in and starts to sink in a rear-naked choke. Zingano manages to force her way out of that attempt though.
Pena still latched on her back with a minute to go. Good grappling from Pena and starts to land some right hands to the head. More grouna and pound now.
Final 10 seconds and Zingao gets on top, but there’s not enough time left for her to do anything with it. We’re headed to the judges.
Zingano got the better of the first round, but Pena won the grappling battle in the final 10 minutes to earn a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).
That’s a big win for Pena, Which will continue to accelerate her progress towards title contention at 135lbs.