Former Bellator title challenger (at flyweight) and Invicta FC strawweight champ Emily Ducote made his UFC debut on Saturday, taking on ex-UFC title challenger Jessica Penne.
The strawweight pair kicked off the UFC Long Island preliminary card, which was an early start for those on the east coast — 11 AM.
Ducote’s debut was highly anticipated, and at 28 “Gordinha” was just hitting her prime — perfect timing to make an impact in the UFC’s strawweight division.
She certainly made an impact Saturday. Especially on Jessica Penne’s legs.
A slow approach from both fighters started the fight, with trying to pick their shots. Ducote was throwing some good leg kicks and a right hook forced Penne to shoot. Ducote defended but Penne did land a knee and elbow before the break. Ducote kept throwing that leg kick and Penne was throwing her hands more in response. A nice one-two from Decote landed and a missed takedown from Penne. Decote landed two more nice right hands at the bell busting up the face of Penne.
The leg kicks were a sign of things to come. There was better actively to start round two with both fighters throwing. Ducote landed a heavy leg kick that put Penne off-balance. Penne was taking a lot of punishment with her lead leg and eating shots to the face. Penne would try to get the fight down but Ducote was defending perfectly. The timing on the entries of Penne was getting better but just couldn’t finish. Ducote did a good job at getting her head off the centerline and finding her strikes. Ducote would dip to the side and fire a one-two on the more stationary Penne. Penne did end the round with a nice straight right though.
Safe to say those @Ducote_Brunette leg kicks are finding a home 🦵
— UFC (@ufc) July 16, 2022
In the final round, the leg kicks at the start were visibly hurting Penne. A minute in, the leg kicks were adding up and Penne was in big trouble. Ducote landed a big right hand and kept busy on the left leg of Penne. Every time Ducote landed clean on that leg kick, Penne would wobble. Penne would get some respect back with two good right hands. Her leg was shot though and that had her movement limited. Ducote essentially landed everything she threw. To close the fight Ducote landed a nice left hook at the bell Penne was again hobbling.
Zero surprise as to the outcome, unless it was trying to figure out which round two judges gave Penne.
Official Result: Emily Ducote def. Jessica Penne by Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)