Tatiana Suarez dominated ten minutes of her fight with Nina Ansaroff at UFC 238. While Ansaroff battled back in the third, it was too little, too late.
In a fight that very well could have title implications in the UFC’s women’s strawweight division, Tatiana Suarez and Nina Ansaroff threw down Saturday at UFC 238. With the possible exception of Michelle Waterson, who has a higher profile than either fighter, Suarez and Ansaroff had the best claims to a title shot at 115lbs heading into the event. The bout served as the featured prelim on ESPN ahead of the PPV event at Chicago’s United Center.
Within the first thirty seconds of Suarez vs. Ansaroff, Nina Ansaroff was forced to sprawl to fight off a takedown. She did, initially, fight the attempt off. But after some adjustment, Suarez had her down, with barely half a minute gone from the fight. From there, Suarez worked from half-guard, trying to move to side control, but unable to with her leg trapped. Back in guard, she’d separate, re-engage, and move to a single-leg attempt. If you had any doubts, it was clearly going to be a wrestling clinic. If you were at all famililar with Tatiana Suarez, you should not have expected anything less.
Suarez, having completed her latest takedown attempted, stayed heavy on Ansaroff and worked to drop an elbow, then a hammer fist. As she did, she attempted to move to side control, or at least half guard, but Ansaroff was able to trap her leg then move her back to guard. If nothing else it was a moral victory. Suarez, however, then got a little more active. Ansaroff basically spent close to the entire first round on her back, with Suarez attempting a late guillotine with no success.
A pair of kicks, one from each fighter, opened round two. Ansaroff was circling away from her opponent, hyper-vigilant of the takedown threat. Suarez then shot for a leg; Ansaroff sprawled, but was forced back to the fence. If you had your money on Suarez finishing the takedown there, you win the prize. Suarez managed to take the back and control Ansaroff’s ankle briefly, though Nina would make it to her feet eventually. Briefly. Dropping elbows on Suarez as the latter opted for a high-crotch single, Ansaroff was dumped back down.
Ansaroff would make it back to her feet. She’d make Suarez work. But ultimately, it was all defense from Ansaroff, who was so worried about avoiding the takedown that she had few options to attack. A low blow by Suarez — a knee — saw the action halted, and at least gave Ansaroff a chance to fire off a kick or two. Head kicks were her plan of attack, but with just seconds left in the round, she had no time to put anything together.
Entering the third round, there was no question Ansaroff was down by two rounds. Whether either round was also a 10-8 was another concern. In short, Ansaroff needed a finish. It didn’t happen. Ansaroff managed to keep the fight on the feet, but couldn’t find either the knockout blow or submission. She’d land a solid left hook or two, win the striking exchanges, swarm Suarez before the bell, but winning the round would not win her the fight.
Tatiana Suarez def. Nina Ansaroff by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)