Australia’s own Bec Rawlings was finished by TKO in the second round through a vicious switch kick from rising star Paige VanZant earlier today.
Rawlings came to Vancouver on an impressive two fight win streak and looked to push her case as a genuine threat in the strawweight division. VanZant, who had previously been on meteoric rise in the UFC, was looking to squash any doubts after fourth ranked Rose Namajunas dominated and eventually submitted the youngster last December.
In the first round, VanZant looked to alter from her previous fight strategy of aggressive clinch work and kept Rawlings at distance by kicking from the outside. However, when the two did eventually lock up, Rawlings held her own and landed solid strikes to the body and head of her opponent. VanZant, who was obviously keen to highlight her offensive evolution, went on to showcase a myriad of different striking techniques that were far flashier than effective towards the back end of the round. With the Aussie’s clever boxing on display Rawlings seemed to take the round due to landing the more significant blows.
Both fighters came out aggressive in the second and looked to put their stamp on the fight. However, it was a beautiful switch kick that landed flush to the temple of Rawlings that forced her to the ground in a daze. VanZant smelt blood and launched a brutal onslaught of hammer fists which shortly led to the referee stopping the fight.
In the main event, Damien Maia was able to slice through Carlos Condit by landing a rear naked choke in the first round. It was no secret that Maia was going to utilise his clear advantage on the mat, but the ease in which he pulled off the maneuverer has put the welterweight division on notice. Maia stated in his post-fight interview that he has now earned his shot at the title and will wait to fight the winner of Tyrone Woodley and Stephen Thompson.
Elsewhere on the card, Anthony Pettis made a huge statement in his featherweight debut by choking out BJJ black belt Charles Oliveira in the third round. After a three fight losing streak and his back up against the wall, Pettis took down a genuine contender in sixth ranked Charles Oliveira in what was a high paced thriller from start to finish.
Pettis looked fast and athletic at 145lbs and was able to drop his opponent with brutal body kicks and continued to follow up with a barrage of heavy ground strikes from the top. Whilst a dominant performance, Oliveira made some aggressive moves on the ground but Pettis looked comfortable and reversed position multiple times. After Pettis reversed the back mount and moved up to his feet, Oliveira launched another takedown attempt but was caught around the neck in a nasty guillotine which finished the fight.
With this win, Pettis puts himself straight into the mix at featherweight.
Full card results: