Kicking off the UFC Vegas 29 card on ESPN on Saturday was flyweight prospect Casey O’Neill. Entering the bout a perfect 6-0, O’Neill was looking to repeat the success of her promotional opposite Shana Dobson earlier this year — against a more dangerous foe in Lara Procopio.
Procopio tied up the action early, firing a knee to the body and bullying O’Neill up against the cage. O’Neill landed a half-hearted knee in the clinch, but followed that up with a solid punch off the break. At range, she followed that up with a crisp left hand, motivating Procopio to tie things up again, and fire off more knees. As the round went on, Procopio did get her own jab working, but she’d rely on her grappling more, shooting for a takedown in the final minute, driving O’Neill against the fence.
Round two saw O’Neill opening with a jab, following up with a right hand, then firing a kick. But while she couldn’t seem to get the fight down in the first, Procopio easily took O’Neill down early in the second. But before long it was O’Neill scrambling and freeing herself, after staying active with submission attempts from her back. After landing a number of shots upstairs, O’Neill landed a takedown of her own. More accurately, Procopio basically fell to her back while coming in, accepting bottom position. That allowed O’Neill to do plenty of damage, but later, she was forced to contend with a heel hook attempt.
They’d end up back on the ground early in the third, with O’Neill on the back, trapping O’Neill in what amounted to a rear crucifix. That allowed her to batter Procopio with strikes before threatening with a choke then transitioning to mount. Procopio gave up her back escaping that, and while O’Neill was too high, she held on to a body triangle. That allowed her to set up the rear-naked choke as Procopio stood up — though not for long. Back down she went, and off to sleep as well, with O’Neill scoring the technical submission.
— UFC (@ufc) June 19, 2021
An impressive sophomore outing from “King” Casey O’Neill, who beats a black belt at her own game.
Official Result: Casey O’Neill def. Lara Procopio by technical submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 2:54