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KOWALKIEWICZ vs ESQUIBEL
Lodz’ Karolina Kowalkiewicz got back in the win column in her UFC Fight Night co-main event bout against Jodie Esquibel. And in snapping her two-fight losing streak via unanimous decision, she showed her home country fans at Ergo Arena in Gdansk that she’s ready for a return to the title picture.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for the No. 3-ranked Kowalkiewicz, who improves to 11-2. Albuquerque’s Esquibel, who was making her UFC debut, falls to 6-3.
Kowalkiewicz didn’t let the home crowd atmosphere affect her in the slightest, as she set a high work rate from the start, taking control of the center of the Octagon while using volume striking to keep Esquibel from getting into a steady rhythm.
In the second, Kowalkiewicz continued to move forward, throwing every step of the way, and in this round, she began to score with more blows determined to end the fight. Whether throwing knees or punches upstairs, the former world title challenger was in top form, and she even came close to a submission late, as she nearly caught Esquibel in an armbar before the end of the frame.
To her credit, Esquibel wasn’t going away, but she didn’t have the power to deter Kowalkiewicz, who kept marching forward in the final round. And though Kowalkiewicz didn’t get the finish, it was clearly one of her most dominant and impressive performances.
BLACHOWICZ vs CLARK
Blachowicz did get staggered by a right hand in the opening round, but for most of the frame, the Warsaw product was digging kicks into Clark’s body, putting money in the bank for later in the fight.
The local favorite didn’t stray from his game plan in round two, and he was getting Clark’s attention with those body kicks, lowering the American’s hands. In the second minute, Blachowicz defended a Clark takedown and got one of his own, and once the two rose, it was a sudden finish, with a wild barrage by Clark leading Blachowicz to grab onto to a rear naked choke. The tap came seconds later at the 3:02 mark.
With the win, Blachowicz moves to 20-7. Clark falls to 8-2.
PIECHOTA vs WILSON
All three judges saw it 30-27.
Wilson set the pace to open the bout, throwing several hard kicks upstairs and down. Piechota’s defense was solid, though, and he refused to be rattled. With two minutes left, he worked for a takedown, and while he didn’t get it, the subsequent scramble saw the Gdansk native take his opponent’s back as they stood. Now it was Wilson’s turn to play defense, and he did so effectively, making it out of the round without giving up the rear naked choke.
The two combatants kept it standing in the second, and while both fighters got in their share of shots, a big right hand by Piechota sent Wilson to the deck, with only the end of the round keeping the Californian from a possible stoppage loss.
Piechota scored a takedown midway through the third round, and he quickly went to work, getting into the mount position. Soon, he took Wilson’s back, and while Wilson was able to survive several submission attempts and make it to the end of the fight, there was no question that it was Piechota leaving the Octagon with the victory.
Piechota moves to 10-0-1 with the win. Wilson, who was making his middleweight debut, falls to 7-3.