Joanna Jedrzejczyk was in more trouble than we’ve ever seen in the octagon, but she’s still "Joanna Champion" after UFC 205 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
“Polish girls are the toughest in the world," Jedrzejczyk said. :Karolina was very tough. I am the best in the world and I continued to prove that tonight. I will be champion for a long time.”
Jedrzejczyk defended her strawweight title for the fourth time, defeating countrywoman Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision, 49-46, 49-46, 49-46.
The Polish strawweights opened with a striking exchange on the feet, looking to find range and establish some sort of pace. Jedrzejczyk was the more active fighter from the start, working creatively with her punches and kicks for the first half of the round. Kowalkiewicz had some advantage went the fight went to the clinch, but Jedrzejczyk wouldn’t allow it to stay there for long.
In the second round, Kowalkiewicz was more focused on closing the distance and applying pressure to the champion. But each time, Jedrzejczyk was the one landing her strikes. Kowalkiewicz was intent on keeping the fight along the cage or bringing it to the mat, but Jedrzejczyk wasn’t having any of it. By the end of the round, Kowalkiewicz was wiping the blood from her nose after each striking exchange.
The third round was much of the same as Jedrzejczyk continued to put together incredibly technical combinations. Kowalkiewicz would make an attempt in each exchange, but Jedrzejczyk would come out on the better end. Late in the round, it was Jedrzejczyk looking to push Kowalkiewicz to the cage, landing strong elbows on the break.
Jedrzejczyk’s title reign nearly ended in the fourth round as Kowalkiewicz turned things around. A few minutes into the round, one big right hand allowed Kowalkiewicz to begin landing everything. Kowalkiewicz had Jedrzejczyk hurt bad, stunning her and knocking the champion into the fence. But Jedrzejczyk recovered enough to force the action to the cage and hang on, landing her own big strikes to close the round.
In the fifth, both fighters looked for a finish with Kowalkiewicz needing one for a win. Jedrzejczyk was able to stay away from danger and restore some of the dominance she enjoyed earlier. Both landed, but it was the champion doing what she needed to keep her belt.
While she didn't get the win, Kowalkiewicz was positive after the bout.
“I feel really good, I’m a little bit sad and angry because I was so close to win this fight," Kowalkiewicz. "But I feel good and it was a good fight,”