UFC Vegas 65: Vanessa Demopoulos Claims Decision in Wild, Fun Fight with Maria Oliveira

Vanessa Demopoulos, Maria Oliveira, UFC Vegas 65
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 19: (L-R) Vanessa Demopoulos punches Maria Oliveira of Brazil in a strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

After dropping back to strawweight following her UFC debut up a weight class, Vanessa Demopoulos had won two straight, and was looking for a third win Saturday at UFC Vegas 65 against Maria Oliveira.

“Lil Monster” had been part of Tabatha Ricci’s training camp for Oliveira, so she came into the fight very familiar with her opponent.

Early in the fight, it was Brazil’s Oliveira using her length to keep Demopoulos on the outside. When she did close the distance, Demopoulos paid for it, with Oliveira answering a leg kick with a combo upstairs. Demopoulos later landed a left hand, but key was finally finding an entry with about half the round remaining. Demopoulos shot in and landed the takedown, going straight to side control. She landed a few elbows there, though not all hit the mark clean.

With time winding down, Demoopoulos passed to mount, and began dropping some nasty elbows. She finished the round strong, but might have expended too much energy chasing the finish, only for Oliveira to be saved by the bell. We’d know for sure in round two.

In the second, Oliveira worked her jab and kicks. Demopoulos took some big swings, and fanned on a massive left. Demopoulos then timed a takedown attempt, with Oliveira fighting it off. Demopoulos stayed on it, until Oliveira finally pushed her off.

Back at range, Demopoulos again took some big swings. This time, one connected, and Oliveira went down! Demopoulos got right on top, landing ground n’ pound. Oliveira would tie her opponent up enough to recover, but she was in a bad spot. On top is where Vanessa Demopoulos wants to be, and she finished another strong round there, dropping elbows.

In the third, Oliveira turned the tide early. She used her kicks and overall length, hurting Demopoulos, putting her against the fence and landing several blows. But Demopoulos landed a key takedown, halting Oliveira’s momentum. Demopoulos was again right where she wanted to be, with her grappling credentials giving her an edge on the ground throughout the fight.

Oliveira, however, for the first time in the fight managed to scramble and escape up. From there, she went on the attack, chasing Demopoulos around the cage. The Brazilian needed a finish, and hurt Demopoulos in the final thirty seconds. Vanessa covered up by the fence, then returned fire. Both women were landing, but Demopoulos escaped, and the clock ran out before Oliveira could complete the comeback.

Following the bout, UFC analyst Michael Bisping was ready for Vanessa Demopoulos’ traditional post-fight celebration.

Official Result: Vanessa Demopoulos def. Maria Oliveira by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)


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