Karolina Kowalkiewicz impressed tonight at UFC 201 with an assured performance that gave her a split decision win over Rose Namajunas.
Kowalkiewicz looking to land at the start of the fight. Leg kick from Namajunas after her opponent misses with one of her own.
Two leg kicks from KK. Namajunas lands a couple of strikes with her head held low. Good right hand for Namajunas.
Leg kick for Kowalkiewicz and a counter punch landing solidly from Namajunas in return.
Leg kick for Namajunas. She misses with a right hand, but finds a nice angle for the left. Right hand over the top from Namajunas.
Another right hand for ‘Thug’. KK tries to unleash a short flurry of punches, but a straight punch from Namajunas is more accurate.
KK knocks Namajunas off her feet with a kick. Another nice strike for Kowalkiewicz.
Namajunas lands a very nice counter strike that gets KK’s attention. Kowalkiewicz starting to up the volume of strikes as the round heads into the final minute and is almost chasing her opponent.
In close Kowalkiewicz lands some really solid knees to the midsection. Namajunas lands a couple of hooks and backs out, then soon after lands a takedown.
Bit of an awkward position, but Namajunas makes it work as the round comes a close.
KK tries for an oblique kick, but eats a counter punch. Namajunas with the overhand right. Kowalkiewicz into the clinch and lands some good knees again to the body from that position.
Namajunas tries for a takedown, but doesn’t get it. She does push KK up against the cage though. KK looking for more knees and sticks an elbow in there too.
Namajunas working for a takedown, but Kowalkiewicz doing a good job of keeping upright. Body strike for Namajunas and knees from KK. Another elbow.
Namajunas spins around to try to get Kowalkiewicz’s back. She’s side on for now and has to give up on it. Great knee again from KK.
They back away and Namajunas lands nicely. Then again she clocks Kowalkiewicz. Front kick for Namajunas sends Kowalkiewicz to the mat for a moment. Good punch as Kowalkiewicz stands too.
Namajunas back in on a takedown attempt, but it’s stuffed and she eats a knee for her troubles as they stand and Namajunas looks to clinch.
Soon they break apart and Kowalkiewicz connects cleanly with a short flurry of punches that snap back Namajunas head.
Clinch and knees from Kowalkiewicz. Very clean technique from her in that position. Namajunas tries to land punches in close, but a knee to the head connects for Kowalkiewicz.
Kowalkiewicz with yet another knee to the midsection. Namajunas with a flying knee. Namajunas lands a punch as the round comes to a close. ‘Thug’ is looking tired though as she goes back to her corner.
Right hand for Namajunas. Spinning back kick attempt from Kowalkiewicz, but it doesn’t find the mark. As in the previous rounds KK steps into the clinch and blasts a few knees into Namajunas’ stomach.
Front kick to the face from Namajunas just grazes her opponent. Spinning backfist just misses from KK. Jab for Kowalkiewicz. KK tries to blast forward with strikes, but Namajunas counters.
Leg kick for Namajunas. Another counter right for her. Namajunas pumping out the jab. She lands the right hand. Takedown attempt, but doesn’t work out.
Namajunas falls off-balance from a kick. KK pushing the pace and backs up Namajunas, unleashing those vicious knees. Namjuna might be hurt and she goes to the mat.
Kowalkiewicz on top with a couple of minutes to go in the fight. She’s keeping position, but not throwing a whole lot of offense. Namajunas catches her with a couple of upkicks.
Namajunas looking to throw up a submission, but KK does well to move away from that and stays on top.
Namajunas does work to her feet in the final seconds of the fight and they both exchange punches, with ‘Thug’ landing a couple.
Excellent performance from Kowalkiewicz here, particularly in the final 10 minutes of the fight. It’s a little surprising to see that it’s a split decision verdict, but the Polish fighter does emerge with her hand raised (29-28 x2, 28-29).
Interestingly, we could now be headed for an all-Polish showdown between Kowalkiewicz and current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.