With Vanessa Melo missing weight Friday ahead of UFC 251, Saturday’s women’s bantamweight bout between Melo and Karol Rosa had become a catchweight affair. How that would play out in the heat of Abu Dhabi remained to be seen. But Melo, whose roster spot was likely on the bubble after two straight losses and the weight miss, would need to dig deep against fellow Brazilian Rosa.
For her part, Rosa had won three straight, two outside the UFC plus her octagon debut last year. Rosa started things off with a leg kick, followed by a great combination behind it. Rosa was really putting her shots together nicely, clearly establishing herself as the more seasoned striker. Rosa began to get off some leg kicks mixed with jabs and circle around the Octagon. With a beautifully timed shot, Rosa was able to get a takedown right into Melo’s full guard. Both women exchanged some shots on the ground before the round ended.
The second round began with Rosa getting back to work on the feet. Melo connected with a nice right hand to get Rosa’s respect, and Rosa responded with a stiff jab. A very nice 1-2 combination connected for Rosa. Melo shot in for a takedown but was unsuccessful, giving Rosa the dominant position against the cage. Rosa got the takedown and went right into half guard, getting off some nice ground-and-pound. Really dominant attacking from Rosa from the top position. Melo survives a beating as the round came to an end.
The third and final round started off with more leg kicks from Rosa. Rosa continued to establish herself as the dominant striker, putting together more combinations and defending well. Melo stuffed a takedown attempt from Rosa and made her pay with a big hook. Melo then began to press forward, connecting sporadically but still being outclassed by Rosa. Rosa clinched up with Melo against the cage and both women exchanged knees to end the fight.
Official Result: Karol Rosa def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)