UFC Vegas 66: Cory McKenna’s Wrestling, Control Gives Her Edge Over Cheyanne Vlismas

Cheyanne Vlismas and Cory McKenna, UFC Vegas 66
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 17: (L-R) Cory McKenna of Wales battles Cheyanne Vlismas in a strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The featured preliminary card bout at UFC Vegas 66, the final card of the year for the Ultimate Fighter Championship, came in the women’s strawweight division, with Cheyanne Vlismas and Cory McKenna facing off.

Both fighters came in off wins, with Vlismas having one two straight, and McKenna returning to the win column last time out against Miranda Granger.

Vlismas showed ample lateral movement as well as some slick in-and-out work early, picking her spots and throwing punches in punches. McKenna was comparatively more stationary, holding center and pursuing her opponent, also firing in short bursts when the opportunity arrived. Between the two, however, Vlismas appeared to be landing more, and appeared to have the answer to McKenna’s jab, coming over top of it with a right hand.

McKenna, meanwhile, continued to press forward, cutting off the cage. She fired a kick to the thigh, then kept her hands busy. But it was Vlismas, with just over a minute remaining in the opening Stanza, who connected with a hook, perhaps the most significant strike of the round. Under pressure, McKenna opted to shoot the takedown and completed it despite Vlismas initially defending.

Round two saw McKenna look to get the fight back to the ground, pressing Vlismas up against the fence. But Vliasmas stayed up, and in a Thai clinch, she fired a number of knees. Impressively, McKenna stayed on her, putting her back to the fence once again. The bulk of the ground played out in this position, with McKenna winning the positional battles but unable to get Vlismas down until late in the frame.

When the pair went to the ground early in the third, it was Vlismas looking for a choke — but she was well out of position. McKenna transitioned to the top, basically in half-guard if just barely. Eventually Vliasmas regained guard, closing it up while McKenna tried to posture up for elbows. From bottom, Vlismas fired an elbow of her own, and stayed busy off her back.

The round would play out there, with McKenna likely taking it thanks to the control time. The scorecards reflected this, as McKenna took it on all three scorecards 29-28.

Official Result: Cory McKenna def. Cheyanne Vlismas by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)