In the first of three title fights at UFC 205, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0 MMA; 6-0 UFC) looks to defend her UFC Strawweight title against challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-0 MMA; 3-0 UFC). The UFC rankings have Kowalkiewicz as the #2 contender in the division with Joanna ranked #8 on the pound for pound list. UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor airs live from Madison Square Garden in New York this Saturday, November 12. The special six fight main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
This is a big fight and a big opportunity, not just for these two Polish fighters, but for the entire division. Strawweight is the UFC’s most recently added division, and in the hectic year of 2016, it’s also one of the few divisions with a solidly established champion. Strawweight title fights have not always been given super high profile spots - this is a chance for these women to fight in front of a massive PPV audience and continue to establish the division.
How do these two stack up?
Jedrzejczyk: 29 years old | 5’6" | 65" reach
Kowalkiewicz: 31 years old | 5’3" | 64" reach
What have these two done recently?
Jedrzejczyk: W - Claudia Gadelha (UD) | W - Valerie Letorneau (UD) | W - Jessica Penne (TKO)
Kowalkiewicz: W - Rose Namajunas (SD) | W - Heather Jo Clark (UD) | W - Randa Markos (UD)
How did these two get here?
Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, known alternately as Joanna Champion and Joanna Violence, has established a real cult following among hardcore fans thanks to her violent striking game. She came to the UFC undefeated and won the Strawweight title in her 3rd UFC fight, completely dominating inaugural champion Carla Esparza. She’s since made 3 title defenses and is coming off a very hard fought win over rival Claudia Gadelha. Joann’s bread and butter is her striking, but she has an often overlooked wrestling game which she primarily uses to keep the fight standing. She has the skills to be champion for a long time, though interestingly, in the past week she has started to talk about her end game as a pro fighter.
Like Joanna, Kowalkiewicz eschewed the season of The Ultimate Fighter than brought much of the division in, jumping right in to the division a year ago. Prior to that, she fought almost exclusively in Poland, though did have one good Invicta win. In the UFC, she has looked very good in three consecutive wins over TUF alums, culminating in a career best win over Rose Namajunas that earned her this shot. In that fight, she used a great Muay Thai clinch to beat up Thug Rose and set up a great striking battle here.
Why should you care?
Two technically strong and violent strikers - these two seem to just match up perfectly. Expect a standing chess match in a very good technical fight.