Tracy Cortez returned to the flyweight division Saturday at UFC Vegas 24. Or at least tried to. Taking on Justine Kish, Cortez had just barely missed weight for the bout, after taking her first two UFC fights at 135lbs — and winning them both.
Still, flyweight is where she had found success prior to her UFC run, and the division seemed like a better fit for the Invicta FC alum — if she could get the weight management issue sorted. Kish, meanwhile, had gone 1-1 in 2020, and was looking to bounce back from a September loss to Sabina Mazo.
Kish held center early, walking down Cortez, who remained on the outside. The aggression of Kish only lasted so long, however, as the pair went to the ground, where Cortez took control. Soon enough, she had the back, rolling Kish over and working to get her hooks in. The round would expire before Cortez could secure a finish. But her path to victory was clear.
In the second, Kish turned up the heat on the feet, but Cortez was happy to meet her in kind. Kish would fire some nice high kicks, while Cortez chopped away at the legs. However, unlike the first frame, Cortez opted not to — or could not — take the fight to the mat. With Kish circling and picking her shots wisely, that played more into her favor.
The third round saw Cortez take things back to her wheelhouse. For good reason, as after two rounds, it felt as if the third would be the deciding factor. And though Kish would force her way back to the feet after a key takedown, Cortez threatened with a guillotine. They’d go the distance in the end, with Cortez earning the split decision win.
Official Result: Tracy Cortez def. Justin Kish by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)