Joanne Wood (formerly Joanne Calderwood) was seeking revenge for teammate Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Vegas 43, and looking to take another step back towards the title shot she almost had against Valentina Shevchenko. Opponent Taila Santos, meanwhile, was hoping to move to 2-0 against Syndicate MMA fighters, and perhaps lock up a title shot of her own.
Wood was also entering the fight just weeks after getting hitched, having married coach John Wood during her training camp — but holding off on the honeymoon plans.
Santos rained on that parade on Saturday.
Wood worked kicks early, and later elbows, while Santos primarily threw hands. As the round progressed, Santos found her range, but both women were landing, Wood with perhaps more variation, Santos with more power.
It was the power that turned the tide in the fight. Late in the round, Santos would take the back after a knockdown care of a right hand, then another knockdown, and lock in a rear-naked choke. Santos was looking to get Wood out of there early, but couldn’t get under the chin initially. After firing off a couple of punches, Wood moved her head, creating the opening Santos needed to force the tap.
A new contender EMERGES 💢
🇧🇷 Taila Santos with the first-RD finish!
— UFC (@ufc) November 21, 2021
Ahead of the fight, “JoJo” had questioned the caliber of opposition Santos had faced ahead of her arrival in the UFC. With Saturday’s result, she may be regretting those words — and is the biggest name Santos has knocked off to date.
Official Result: Taila Santos def. Joanne Wood by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 4:49