UFC 288: Virna Jandiroba Smothers Marina Rodriguez with Wrestling

Marina Rodriguez and Virna Jandiroba, UFC 288
Marina Rodriguez and Virna Jandiroba, UFC 288 Credit: Youtube/UFC

Women’s strawweight contenders Marina Rodriguez and Virna Jandiroba kicked off the televised prelims at UFC 288.

The all-Brazilian match-up found Rodriguez looking to get back in the win column following a loss to Amanda Lemos, while Jandiroba most recently picked up a win over Angela Hill.

It did not take long for Virna Jandiroba, a former Invicta FC champion with solid grappling credentials, to land a big takedown on Rodriguez on Saturday. About 30 seconds in, she had the fight to the ground, with Rodriguez seated. Jandiroba tied up the legs, preventing Rodriguez from wall-walking up by lacing her legs around and later through her opponent’s. Before long, Rodriguez turned, giving up the back, only to turn again. Jandiroba was heavy on top, though so close to the fence, she didn’t have a ton of room to work.

Jandiroba looked to be setting up an arm-triangle choke while mixing in some punches to the body and head. Off her back, Rodriguez clamped down on Jandiroba’s left leg, preventing her from passing to mount. Jandiroba went after a kimura, however, and Rodriguez let the leg slip. Jandiroba moved to mount, launching a few hammerfists, but that allowed Rodriguez to buck her off and fire upkicks, earning a reprieve before Jandiroba got back on top.

Jandiroba fanned on a spinning back fist in the opening minute of round two, then had a takedown stuffed. Her second attempt was a bit wild, but she grabbed an ankle and stayed on it. Rodriguez grabbed the fence to momentarily stay up, but was taken down in the end regardless.

Rodriguez was struggling to scramble free, though she did gradually make her way to the fence. Jandiroba stayed on her, again lacing her leg around Rodriguez’s while in half-guard. Rodriguez simply could not find a way out from under Virna Jandiroba, who soon made her way to side control, dropping elbows. That would take them to the horn.

Round three saw Jandiroba fire and miss with another spinning back fist. Rodriguez fired a combo, hitting mostly air. The key for Rodriguez was to keep up her back, and she had a little more success in the third frame, landing a combo, firing a knee, and forcing Jandiroba to retreat. Just as the tide seemed to be turning, however, Jandiroba closed in for a takedown. As she had in two prior rounds, Jandiroba tied up her opponent’s legs. From there, the demoralizing process of Jandiroba steadily improving her position with Rodriguez unable to defend continued. Jandiroba locked up an arm-triangle choke from half guard, but couldn’t finish from there. She then switched to dropping elbows, as Rodriguez tried to punch of her back, and fired upkicks.

A couple of those upkicks did land, much to the delight of the crowd — but Virna got back on top at the end, and the outcome was never in question.

Official Result: Virna Jandiroba def. Marina Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)