At UFC Oklahoma City (UFC Fight Night 112, for those counting), strawweights were a big part of the night. On the televised preliminary card, former 115lb champ Carla Esparza got things back on track with a win over Maryna Moroz. The second strawweight fight of the evening would feature the popular Felice Herrig against Justine Kish, a standout who was expected to do great things on The Ultimate Fighter before falling to injury.
Herrig entered the night ranked 13th, while Kish had yet to crack the top fifteen. With a win, one would at least enter the title conversation.
The two women met in the middle and immediately went to work. Kish went for a kick early, while Herrig later threw her to the canvas via a headlock, and took the back. Herrig would look for a choke, but Kish managed to unhook a foot and escape. Herrig then pushed the action against the fence. Next came a body lock from Herrig, but Kish again powered out. This was turning into a power struggle.
With the two struggling on the ground, Herrig managed to get on top and drop a few shots, then again take the back with both legs in. There was still a full two minutes to work, and while she couldn’t find a choke, she wound up back in mount. Another transition to the back followed. Kish finally escaped, and found herself on top, but Herrig was able to power up to her feet, and land a front face kick as well. Herrig followed that up with a takedown attempt, but Kish’s whizzer defense was effective.
In the second, the action stayed on the feet, and Herrig showed greatly improved hands, landing her jab and some lovely left hooks. Kish would answer back with kicks and knees in the clinch, but Herrig opened her up, and Kish was definitely looking worse for the wear.
Despite Herrig getting the better of her early in the round, Kish was far from out of it however. Perhaps sensing she needed to go the extra mile, Herrig secured a takedown at the two minute mark and began working from half guard. She managed to stay busy, and would finish the round on top. Kish added some strikes from the bottom, but that round belonged to Felice.
In the third, Felice Herrig scored the takedown early and worked to keep Justine Kish in place alongside the cage. Herrig quickly moved to full mount. She couldn’t get the finish there, but after Kish made it back to her feet, Herrig took her back and locked in a tight rear-naked choke. The crowd roared, and Herrig used her weight to drop the pair to the ground, still holding on to the choke. Somehow, Kish managed to escape. Wow. Herrig then mounted Kish again and dropped punches and elbows as Kish tried to buck her off.
Herrig employed total positional dominance throughout the rest of the round, and got a huge round of applause at the end of the bout. No question, Herrig looked stellar Sunday night!
Felice Herrig def. Justine Kish by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)