UFC St. Louis: Veronica Hardy Survives Late Surge by JJ Aldrich, Claims Decision

JJ Aldrich and Veronica Hardy, UFC St. Louis
JJ Aldrich and Veronica Hardy, UFC St. Louis Credit: Youtube/UFC

Two flyweights on two-fight win streaks kicked off the night at UFC St. Louis on Saturday, with Veronica Hardy taking on JJ Aldrich.

Hardy, a slight favorite, was looking to build off victories over TUF 30 winner Julianna Miller and Canadian standout Jamey-Lyn Horth, a pair of fights that had ended a three-year layoff for the Venezuelan.

With a bit of a feeling out process in the early going, the boo-birds were out within a minute as Aldrich vs. Hardy got underway. Both ladies took their time, looking to find their range; Hardy started out in an orthodox stance. Eventually they’d take things to the fence, working in the clinch with Hardy in control for a moment before Aldrich reversed. By the time they broke from that position, there was under a minute on the clock; Hardy fired a leg kick from well outside, then popped off a couple of combos that had Aldrich opting to close the distance.

Aldrich would finish out the round with blood trickling down alongside her nose and the side of her face, a good indication of who had taken the first frame.

Early in round two Aldrich slipped a punch and looked to clinch, but Hardy was able to quickly break free. A hook from Aldrich followed, but drew more of a reaction from fans than it did from Hardy. Hardy would go to the body, then head, with a trio of kicks that were rattled off in quick succession. Aldrich was having a better round, but Hardy’s power appeared to be the difference maker.

A clinch along the fence slowed the action, with Hardy looking to employ a whizzer to keep Aldrich from completing a takedown. When they came off the cage, Hardy’s corner called for elbows and body work; she complied with at least one elbow, while working her jab.

Hardy had a quick start to round three, going on the offensive. She landed to the legs with another kick, then went to the body, then leg again. Aldrich, not to be outdone, fired a spinning back kick to the midsection. Moments later, Aldrich had her biggest moment of the fight, knocking Hardy down- but Hardy went right after a triangle, really an inverted triangle. Aldrich would eventually pull free after eating a couple of punches, and wound up on top, in side control, then half-guard. Hardy was active off her back, but Aldrich returned to side mount. From there Aldrich had space to uncork some left hands. Hardy was in close against the fence after a bit of scrambling; they’d end up going the full 15, with Hardy taking the unanimous decision on the strength of her first two rounds.

Official Result: Veronica Hardy def. JJ Aldrich by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)