After losses to the champ and top-three fighter Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz needed a win to stay relevant. Thank goodness for human punching bags like Jodie Esquibel.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Esquibel isn’t good in some respects. She’s got skills, and her greatest trait is her ability to sustain damage and keep moving forward. But she’s no elite fighter… and with a co-main event slot at UFC Fight Night 118 and a resume full of wins, Kowalkiewicz clearly is.
You pretty much saw all you needed to see of the fight over the course of Round 1. Kowalkiewicz, completely undeterred by Esquibel’s kicks and punches, walked into range and began clobbering. Esquibel kept moving, trying to control range and fire off kicks of her own, but it was as if Kowalkiewicz simply didn’t care. She was going to kick, punch and knee Esquibel no matter what the American did.
Round 2 was more of the same, with the Polish fighter rocking Esquibel more than once, and taking her down to threaten with subs late. The final round was all about Esquibel eating strikes while struggling to return fire. Then time ran out, and it was clear who the judges would have to favor.
Results: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision