TUF 20 alum Randa Markos and UFC newcomer Marina Rodriguez fought in a spirited back-and-forth battle to open the UFC Sao Paulo card in Brazil on Saturday night.
Canada’s Randa Markos returned to action at UFC Sao Paulo on Saturday night. There, there strawweight took on promotional newcomer Marina Rodriguez. Markos was looking to shake off a loss to Nina Ansaroff at UFC on FOX 30 in July, while Rodriguez, of course, was hoping to make a big impression in her UFC debut. The bout opened the main card of UFC Sao Paulo, numerically UFC Fight Night 137.
It was Markos holding the center of the cage early, but before long, they had clinched by the cage. The Canadian then took the fight down with a throw, but risked giving up position. However, she was able to move to mount, putting Rodriguez in a bad spot, with a full three minutes to go in the round. Despite the dominant position, for nearly a full minute Markos struggled to make space. Finally, she was able to posture up and land a few blows, but Rodriguez was able to scramble and get Markos back in half-guard. Markos would pull free into side control, doing damage with some short elbows as her opponent thrashed below her.
Round two stayed standing a little longer, despite a clinch early in the round that saw Markos clearly looking for a way down. Instead Rodriguez worked kicks and the odd combination, though for the most part, she was not stringing things together. Rodriguez began adding leg kicks, seemingly unconcerned with the takedown. Markos then charged forward just past the halfway point. Yet while she backed Rodriguez up against the fence, again she couldn’t get her opponent to the ground. Markos was landing the odd jab, but Rodriguez came on strong at round’s end, and the stand-up was clearly her comfort zone.
In the third, an early clinch by the cage allowed Rodriguez to land a blow with her forearm, and again Markos was frustrated and prevented from getting the fight down. However, a trip out in the middle finally got the fight now, with Markos on top and well over three minutes left in the round. Markos moved to side control, but Rodriguez reversed, rolling right out and up to her feet. That escape was huge, as had Markos been allowed to ride out the round, she easily could have won a decision. Instead, some dirty boxing action in the clinch in the final minute, and they went to the bell. With the third round very much the question mark, the judges didn’t see a clear winner, with two of them calling it a draw.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) September 23, 2018
Randa Markos vs. Marina Rodriguez ended in a majority draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)