Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk is to violence what water is to wetness. Which is to say, expectations are high for her to thrill the assembled crowd in Madison Square Garden. Karolina Kowalkiewicz is her challenger tonight, and sure, she’s durable – but is that enough?

As usual, Karolina nimbly chases after the champ, eating combo after combo to land maybe just one or two of her own. And yet, for some reason those one or two that Karolina lands are enough to pressure Joanna and keep her moving backwards – do these punches Karolina is throwing have heat on them? It’s hard to say because these ladies are so small… maybe. They start to clinch extensively against the cage, but unlike with Tate and Pennington, they’re digging into each other with knees and elbows, and that’s how the round ends.

It must really freak Joanna out that Karolina eats her strikes and keeps coming forward, because Karolina doesn’t stop pursuing in Round 2 and Joanna doesn’t stop backing up. Three minutes into the round Karolina drives hard into a takedown attempt against the cage, and when they disengage they start trading back and forth, with the champ landing a spinning backfist that makes the crowd say “Oohhhh!”

Joanna keeps out-scoring his foe into the third, landing more when they shoot it out in their flurries, and chipping away with her cross, knees and kicks. Karolina stays in the game with a counter here and there, yet whenever she catches a kick (which is a few times), she can’t even complete a takedown – she’s fighting Joanna’s fight and she’s losing.

Karolina switches into second gear for Round 4, and it results in her stunning the champ with a cross that has Joanna stumbling and trying to stay alive. She does – despite Karolina’s best efforts to get that knockout – but even though Joanna recovers, Karolina seems to have find her range, and she tags the champ again and again. The horn sounds with Joanna giving some payback in the form of some kicks to the head, and the crowd comes alive with applause.

The champ is determined not to repeat the events of the previous round, so the fifth is all about her meeting Karolina’s aggressive with some aggression of her own. This takes the form of kicks that halt Karolina’s advance, and while, sure, there are frequent shootouts, Joanna manages to land first, land often, and land accurately. The crowd appreciates this, and when time runs out, they stand and applaud.


Results: Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Unanimous Decision