Joanna Jedrzejczyk was in fine form tonight at UFC Fight Night 161 as she got the better of both the punching and kicking game as well as showing solid takedown defense and clinch work to emerge a unanimous decision winner.
The main event of the evening is underway in Florida.
Feeling out process in the opening seconds of the fight as they look to establish their respective ranges. Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk.
Waterson blasts forward into a takedown attempt. Jedrzejczyk defends it, but Waterson then lets go and tees off with a few punches.
However, Jedrzejczyk presses her against the cage. Waterson manages to reverse the position, but can’t get the former champion down. Knees from Jedrzejczyk and a good elbow from Waterson as she opts to move away.
Waterson comes in but Jedrzejczyk tags her with punches and a kick. Right hand from Jedrzejczyk.
Another takedown attempt from Waterson, but has to sttle for the clinch against the cage. Knees to the body from Jedrzejczyk and then reverses the clinch.
More knees to the body and then a punch upstairs for her. Waterson trying to get away, but Jedrzejczyk keeps her against the cage. They jockey for position against the cage.
Jedrzejczyk working this clinch for an extended period now. Waterson briefly reverses, but Jedrzejczyk proving to be the stronger for now.
Jedrzejczyk trying to manufacture a takedown as the round ends.
Leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Another lands. Two more connect to the thigh. Another two now and a third lower down. Now two from Waterson.
Jedrzejczyk happy to just work on her leg kicks from the outside for the time being. Now one threatening upstairs that doesn’t land.
Waterson with a head kick that lands a glancing blow. More leg kicks for Jedrzejczyk. Another head kick sneaks through from Waterson but not with enough power to make a big impact.
Cage clinch from Waterson. She lands a nice elbow as she steps back out of it.
Jedrzejczyk with a leg kick and punches. Waterson trying for the takedown and presses her opponent into the cage.
Jedrzejczyk reverses the position. Right hook for her. She lands a couple of knees to the midsection. Hooks for Joanna now and a kick from Waterson as she escapes.
Kick upstairs from Jedrzejczyk sends Waterson off-balance momentarily. Slip from Waterson on her own kick attempt. Waterson wipes blood from her nose on her already bloodied shirt. More kicks from Jedrzejczyk.
Back to the leg kicks from Jedrzejczyk. Now one to the body. Outside leg kick. One upstairs that’s blocked. Waterson tries a head kick that misses.
Two leg kicks from Jedrzejczyk. Body kick for Waterson. Left hook and a kick from Jedrzejczyk. Oblique kick for Waterson. Punches and a kick from Jedrzejczyk. Waterson with a short flurry of her own, but Jedrzejczyk seems comfortable with that and counters.
Body kick for Jedrzejczyk. Short punches and a leg kick for her. Jedrzejczyk moves around to the back and is dragging Waterson to the mat.
Waterson standing and Jedrzejczyk drags her down again looking for a d’arce choke. She can’t cinch it up, but good versatility from the former champ.
Waterson back to her feet. Head kick attempt from Jedrzejczyk. Outside leg kick and then a front kick to the body.
Waterson takes Jedrzejczyk’s back and sinks in a rear-naked choke. Jedrzejczyk having to defend this choke hard as they go to the mat.
She survives for now, but then Waterson tries again and cranks the neck as Jedrzejczyk stands up and she remains latched to her back.
Jedrzejczyk finally gets her off and then immediately looks for payback with a series of punches and then a kick.
Back to the leg kicks from Jedrzejczyk to start the fourth. Head kick attempt just grazes Waterson’s head.
Punches and a kick from Waterson. Punch and a kick for Jedrzejczyk. Waterson tries to press into the clinch, but Jedrzejczyk reverses the position.
Jedrzejczyk backs up and misses with a kick. Low leg kicks and then one to the body. Jab lands now. outside leg kick. Short punches and a leg kick. Now one upstairs that glances the target.
Body kick from JJ as she continues to dominate the striking. Jab and kicks. Another body kick.
Hard low kick for Jedrzejczyk. Waterson goes in for a single leg attempt but has to settle for the clinch. Jedrzejczyk getting in on Waterson’s back and drags her to the mat. Waterson stands, but the battle continues from this position.
Elbow for Jedrzejczyk. Big knees to the body from Jedrzejczyk. They jockey for position against the cage to end the round.
Leg kick punch and back to the legs kicks for Jedrzejczyk. Now a series of punches. Leg kick for Waterson. nice four-piece punching combo from Jedrzejczyk.
Outside leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Inside leg now. Leg kick to the body kick from JJ. Jedrzejczyk steps into a body kick and then works for the cage clinch.
Waterson reverses the clinch. Jedrzejczyk gets back into the advantageous position in the clinch and lands a good knee.
Back to striking range, but Waterson manages to scramble to Jedrzejczyk’s back and locks up there as the former champion remains standing.
Jedrzejczyk manages to move around and they are back to fighting for position against the cage. Jedrzejczyk with a knee and then a punch.
Striking range and a leg kick for Jedrzejczyk and a failed takedown attempt from Waterson. Waterson with a spinning elbow that misses.
Good kcik and then a left hand from Jedrzejczyk. Big left again from Jedrzejczyk. Final 10 seconds in the clinch with Jedrzejczyk landing knees to the body and then trying for a takedown.
No doubt about the winner here with Jedrzejczyk dominating the stand-up battle and doing well in the clinch on her way to a unanimous decision victory (50-45 x2, 49-46).