One of two bouts for the ladies on the UFC Fight Island 7 card, Sarah Moras vs. Vanessa Melo, a bantamweight affair, had both fighters badly in need of a win on Saturday.
Canada’s Moras had won just one of her past five fights entering the night. Brazilian Melo, meanwhile, had lost all three of her UFC bouts prior to Saturday — and had missed weight in two of them. With that in mind, weighing in successfully on Friday felt like a win itself for Melo.
In the octagon Saturday, Melo held center early, looking sharp and forcing “Cheesecake” Moras to circle on the outside. Melo worked in jabs, leg kicks, and mixed in some stance switches to keep Moras on her toes. The Canadian, meanwhile, stayed on her bicycle, firing off several kicks, but staying well out of range of Melo’s power shots.
The downside of that, however, was that Moras was too far out to clinch, eliminating any shot of getting the fight to the ground.
The spin cycle for Moras continued in round two. Melo worked to cut her opponent off, and early in the second landed hard enough to knock Moras’ mouthpiece out. Moras landed a couple of kicks on Melo’s lead leg, but Moras was now bloodied — and unable to make the necessary adjustments to take control in the fight. Melo’s right hand was nasty when it landed, and she continued to hunt down her opponent slowly but steadily. Through nearly two full rounds, Moras had not even attempted a takedown, and it was clear that her path to victory was not on the feet. Finally, in the last 30 seconds of round two, Moras shot in. While Melo fought it off, it was a sign that Moras had come to realize the futility of her initial game plan.
Round three saw Moras find slightly more success with her jab, but with nothing behind it, and unable to take the fight down and keep it there, any chance “Cheesecake” had of pulling off an upset was quickly expiring. The Canadian arguably did enough to win the frame, but it was Vanessa Melo claiming her first win as a UFC fighter. With the dubious distinction of doing so in a fight with up to 250 missed strikes, as was announced during the broadcast.
Official Result: Vanessa Melo def. Sarah Moras by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)