A thrilling three rounds saw Alexa Grasso get the better of Karolina Kowalkiewicz on the feet, in a highly entertaining fight in the strawweight division.
After dropping a fight to Michelle Waterson at UFC Philadelphia in March, former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz was looking to bounce back at UFC 238. Standing in her way, another fighter looking to turn things around after a key loss: Alexa Grasso.
The strawweight pair, coincidentally, each lost to one of the two fighters with serious cases for title shots in the 115lb division. Which meant that each was at the back of the line, while Waterson, Tatiana Suarez, and Nina Ansaroff were ahead. Coincidentally, Suarez (who defeated Grasso) and Ansaroff would clash later on the card.
First on the prelims, however, it was Poland’s Kowalkiewicz, and Mexico’s Grasso.
Grasso was active with her kicks early, and fired off a right hand as well, as this strawweight pair got off to a fast start. Kowalkiewicz was getting pieced up early, but fired back with a kick and some punches of her own. The Polish fighter, however, was soon bleeding, not a good start for her. Grasso was landing on her numerous times. Kowalkiewicz would attempt to press forward off each setback, but that only opened her up to more damage. Grasso’s movement was superior, and she was mixing up her strikes well, with combinations, kicks, jabs all finding success. In a late clinch, she even landed some knees to the body, and the crowd was roaring at the end of the frame.
The second saw Kowalkiewicz starting strong. She began stringing together combinations, pressing forward, no doubt looking to take back momentum. Grasso, however, was still showing excellent movement. Karolina was going to need to watch the Mexican’s kicks. However, Kowalkiewicz continued showing improvement. She fired off a spinning back fist, but couldn’t connect clean.
Kowalkiewicz initiated a clinch, firing a knee and driving Grasso into the cage. Alexa Grasso, meanwhile, fought off the attempt, and landed a knee off the break. As the round went on, Grasso began landing more, turning up the volume, and taking momentum back. While Kowalkiewicz was still moving forward, and landing, Grasso was both throwing more and landing more.
Grasso fired off a high kick that was blocked, followed by a kick to the body to open round three. The kicks continued to flow, with Grasso doubling up on them. Kowalkiewicz still walked her opponent down, firing, but Grasso once again was lighting her up. Kowalkiewicz would eat every shot and press forward, but her nose was bloodied, and she was down in the fight, no matter how much heart she was showing.
The final seconds turned into a brawl, with Kowalkiewicz backing her opponent up, but Grasso refusied to be done in. Grasso jumped for a guillotine late, but the bell rang, sounding an end to perhaps the best fight of the night to that point.
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2019
A breakthrough performance by Grasso, who will be moving up in the 115lb division.
Alexa Grasso def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)