UFC Jacksonville: Tabatha Ricci Fights Smart, Wins Decision Over Submissions Leader Gillian Robertson

Tabatha Ricci and Gillian Robertson, UFC Jacksonville
Tabatha Ricci and Gillian Robertson, UFC Jacksonville ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

The UFC’s all-time submissions leader among women was back in action on Saturday, as Gillian Robertson brought her dangerous ground game into a fight with Brazilian Tabatha Ricci.

“Baby Shark” Ricci was no slouch on the ground herself, while Canada’s Robertson would have home court advantage, being a longtime resident of Florida.

Ricci opened with a low kick, but walked into a n elbow. Soon enough, Robertson had a high single-leg takedown attempt, but Ricci’s balance proved sufficient to fight that off as she hopped to the fence. When the did go down, it was Ricci landing the takedown, with Robertson on bottom. She got right back up after trapping a leg, and just two minutes it, it was clear we had a competitive fight.

Tabatha Ricci again landed a takedown with two minutes still on the clock in round one. But she refused to stay in Robertson’s guard, instead backing off and showing ample respect to the Canadian’s submission game. On the feet “Baby Shark” was effective on the outside, easily claiming the opening frame.

Between rounds, Robertson’s corner told her she was giving too much respect to Ricci, and allowing her to get off first. Ricci’s movement was on display early in the second, however, and combined with her stand-up, she was keeping Robertson on the outside, guessing. A caught kick wasn’t enough to give Robertson an opening; Ricci was throwing what seemed like three or four strikes for ever Robertson attack.

Ricci landed another takedown in the second, though Robertson was able to clinch and moe back to her feet, firing knees. She could not reverse, however, and back on the feet, she had to contend with a body kick and more effective striking from Ricci. Robertson found limited success with low kicks, and fought off another takedown attempt in the final minute.

The third round found Gillian Robertson in need of a finish, but Ricci would not make it easy. Her footwork carried her around the octagon with apparent ease, but 90 seconds in, Robertson finally earned a takedown of her own. Ricci was active on bottom, spinning around to north-south position and scrambling her way up from there. The biggest moment of the fight for the Canadian, but not enough time on top to find a submission. Robertson stayed in Ricci’s face as the round wore on, but there was little question as to the outcome when the horn sounded.

The victory extends Ricci’s win streak to four, while Robertson drops to 1-1 in the UFC women’s strawweight division.

Official Result: Tabatha Ricci def. Gillian Robertson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)