UFC newcomer Julia Avila impressed in her debut by battering TUF 28 finalist Pannie Kianzad in a decision win.
Pannie Kianzad and UFC newcomer Julia Avila kicked off the action at UFC 239 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in the opening bout of the evening.
Kianzad entered the Octagon flaunting an 11-4 record with victories over the likes of Lina Lansberg, Milana Dudieva, and Jessica Rose-Clark. The Invicta FC veteran is best known for her stint on the 28th season of the Ultimate Fighter, where she was able to reach the finals of the competition. Unfortunately for the Danish fighter, she fell at the hands of Macy Chiasson and was quickly shipped out of the UFC. After picking up a win outside the promotion, the 27-year-old’s phone rang requesting she take a fight against Avila on just two weeks notice when Avila’s original opponent, Melissa Gatto, dropped out with an injury. “Banzai” jumped at the chance to be back in the premier MMA organization.
Avila made her UFC debut on Saturday. The Oklahoma native has created a lot of buzz after compiling a 6-1 professional record. Her lone loss came to Marciea Allen back in May 2018 when the bout was stopped when Avila dislocated a finger. Since that win, the Raging Panda has picked up back to back victories, including a knockout win over Alexa Conners in her Invicta FC debut. The 31-year-old fighter entered the bout as a -190 favorite, while her counterpart was a +175 favorite
Kianzad opens the action with a three-piece combo before the two clinch against the fence. The UFC newcomer starts to get the better of the action with some hard knees and kicks to the head, followed by a huge right hand.
After battling in the clinch for the first half of the round. They trade shots in the center with both women landing. The UFC newcomer backs Avila up against the cage with a combo and the two trade hard shots to end the round.
Cageside Press Scored the Round 10-9 Avila.
Both fighters come out aggressively throwing hard strikes but Avila shoots in for a takedown which Kianzad defends well. The two battle once again in close quarters with the American getting the better of the exchanges behind some hard elbows before they break.
Kianzad catches a kick from her foe and takes Avila to the canvas, but allows Avila to quickly get to her feet. The two exchange strikes on the feet but Avila displayed the better power — briefly rocking the Swedish fighter. When they clinch, Kianzad opens up a cut over Avila’s right eye with an elbow.
The blood seems to motivate the TUF veteran, who presses forward but gets rocked by a combination. She gets hurt bad but instead of capitalizing on it, Avila surprisingly clinched.
The round comes to an end when Kianzad misses a takedown.
Cageside Press Scored the Round 10-9 Avila
The two fighters started the third round exactly how they started the second round by exchanging heavy shots. Avila was pressing the action and suddenly drops Kianzad with a huge right hand. She took the Danish fighter’s back when a scramble ensues. She controls the remainder of the round looking for a rear naked choke which never presents itself.
Cageside Press Scored the Round 10-9 Avila (30-27 Avila).
Julia Avila improves her record to 7-1 and 1-0 in the UFC, while Kianzad falls to 0-2 in the Octagon.
Julia Avila def. Pannie Kianzad by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)