Chelsea Hackett isn’t a UFC fighter just yet.
The 22-year-old Gold Coast fighter lost to Victoria Leonardo via TKO on Dana White’s Contender Series, held at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Tuesday, November 17.
It was too much too soon for the highly touted Aussie prospect. While the fight had its competitive moments, Leonardo outskilled Hackett in grappling to earn the second-round victory.
The former world Muay Thai champion had early success with her leg kicks, visibly damaging Leonardo’s left leg, however that offence was nullified when Leonardo secured the first takedown. After being on her back for a minute, Hackett finally managed to get up, disengage from the clinch and resume her standing attack. She landed her signature front kick, but Leonard returned with a head kick of her own to close the first round.
Round two resumed evenly on the feet, but it wasn’t long before the pair were tied up against the cage. Following an elbow on the break which bloodied Leonardo’s nose, Hackett landed a few more shots which appeared to have Leonardo in danger. Showing her experience in response, the American tied up the Aussie once again and vied for the takedown, which she finally got. With 1:30 left in the round, Hackett was on her back, away from the cage, fighting to survive. Leonardo moved to mount and unleashed a barrage of ground and pound, and with no answers from Hackett, the referee stepped in at 4:41.
Leonardo, now 8-2, sufficiently impressed UFC Present Dana White and secured herself a contract with the win. She will compete in the UFC women’s flyweight division which is currently topped by champion Valentina Shevchenko. With the first defeat of her career, Hackett moves to 3-1-1.
Three additional UFC contracts were awarded on the card to Tucker Lutz, Gloria de Paula and JP Buys.
Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 10 Results: