Kicking off the UFC Vegas 57 card on Saturday was the lone women’s fight on the docket.
The strawweight scrap saw Vanessa Demopoulos, a former LFA champ at 115 pounds, throw down with ex-Invicta FC atomweight champ Jinh Yu Frey.
Aside from the champ versus champ storyline, Demopoulos entered the fight with a few extra eyeballs on her, after jumping into the arms of Joe Rogan following a win at UFC 270 back in January.
Despite Frey having fought at 105, she had a considerable reach advantage against Demopoulos. That allowed her to work her jab and keep Vanessa on the outside early. Demopoulos fired her right hand a couple of times, before finally landing a looping shot to the side of the head. Frey answered back with a combination, then caught a Demopoulos kick and briefly dumped her.
With just over a minute left in the opening frame, Demopoulos drove into a double-leg takedown, landing it. Frey wouldn’t be kept down for a long; the pair clinched up by the fence, with Demopoulos landing a knee or two before they moved back to center.
In round two, Frey doubled up on her jab, and at one point tripled up on it. Demopoulos worked hers as well, with less success. She changed things up, firing a high kick that Frey blocked. Demopoulos, at times, seemed to be hunting for a knockout, but her nose was bloodied, and eventually, she dropped levels for a takedown. Later in the round, Demopoulos attacked with a step-in elbow; Frey countered that, and easily stuffed the next takedown attempt. Demopoulos would tie things up, landing several knees before the break, with just seconds left in the round.
Through 10 minutes, the story was Frey’s volume and jab versus the power of Demopoulos. Between rounds, Frey informed her corner that she was suffering from double vision; that was cause for concern.
Round three opened with a heated exchange, before Demopoulos drove Frey into the fence. There, she fired knees to the thigh before dropping to a single leg attempt about 90 seconds in. Frey defended with a whizzer and attacked with elbows. Eventually, she freed herself, and back at center, fired a kick, then a 1-2.
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How much did Demopoulos have left in the tank? How badly compromised was Frey? Demopoulos continued to hunt for the knockout blow, before shooting in wild for a single-leg. Despite barely catching an ankle she stayed on it, getting Frey to the fence in what had become a high crotch single. Demopoulos had to bail on that, but was still in the driver’s seat. With a minute to go, she tried to get a couple of knees up, attacking the thighs as well. They’d return to center for the last 10 seconds, both ladies landing.
In the battle of LFA vs. Invicta champs, it was Demopoulos coming out on top. A split decision in the end, and Demopoulos jumped into Michael Bisping’s arms post-fight.
Official Result: Vanessa Demopoulos def. Jinh Yu Frey by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)