Vanessa Demopoulos rode a three-fight win streak into the biggest fight of her career, against former strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC Vegas 73.
Unfortunately, “Lil Monster” had been a little over at the scales on Friday, coming in 1.5lbs heavy for the fight.
Kowalkiewicz got her combinations going early in Saturday’s preliminary card scrap, which resulted in Demopoulos shooting a takedown. That was stuffed, but Demopoulos would land a left hand that seemed to hurt Kowalkiewicz. Still, the Polish strawweight walked Demopoulos down, firing an overhand right, occasional kicks, and eventually closing the distance to look for a takedown of her own. Demopoulos fought off the attempt, but ate a couple of solid punches for her efforts.
Back at distance, Kowalkiewicz landed a solid right hand. They’d head to the second with Karolina clearly up.
Round two saw a similar approach from Kowalkiewicz, who was more often than not the fighter coming forward. Demopoulos was taking some big swings with her counters, but continued to have issues with distance management. Takedowns simply weren’t there for Demopoulos, who ripped a few high kicks that were blocked, and spent more time than she no doubt would have liked on her back foot. Towards the final minute, Kowalkiewicz landed a solid shot that backed Demopoulos up.
Round three saw the pair go to the ground early, but it was Demopoulos on the bottom. She was active, but Kowalkiewicz eventually locked her down. She stepped over into side control; Demopoulos rolled to her knees, but risked giving up her back. Eventually, Kowalkiewicz reclaimed guard; Kowalkiewicz would later back off, letting Demopoulos back to her feet.
By the end of the round, a bloodied Demopoulos had been thoroughly beaten. Karolina Kowalkiewicz, meanwhile, had her third straight win — her best streak since 2016, when she landed a fight with then-champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Official Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Vanessa Demopoulos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)