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Welcome to the UFC, Kelly Faszholz

It took less than a year this time around for the UFC to find their next women's bantamweight talent as Kelly Faszholz comes in on late notice for UFC Pittsburgh.

In the months between February 28th, 2015, when Holly Holm first stepped into the Octagon, and December 19th 2015, when Valentina Shevchenko made her short notice debut against Sarah Kaufman, not one women's bantamweight fighter was signed or made her debut in the UFC. That's practically 10 months without one new face in a division only 26 fighters deep. So, when Sarah Moras got injured just a few days out from her UFC Pittsburgh fight against Lauren Murphy on February 21st, it seemed reasonable to assume that the UFC would have to scrap the fight. After all, if women's bantamweights were plentiful, why weren't they getting snapped up already. And yet, here we are with a late notice replacement to fight Murphy, as the UFC announced the signing of Kelly Faszholz. So...

Who is Kelly Faszholz?

The 31-year old Faszholz is a BJJ purple belt from Dallas, Texas, now training out of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance, former home of UFC vet David Mitchell and home to UFC vets Nate Loughran and Collin Hart and Strikeforce vet Alvin Cacdac under former UFC middleweight title contender David Terrell. She comes to the UFC with a 3-0 record as a pro and at least two amateur fights. All her wins are via submission although she has yet to take any serious steps up in competition. Outside of MMA, she has a long history of competition as a grappler, both gi and no-gi.

What you should expect:

Faszholz is sort of the prototype of what the UFC wants when they go out and look for fighters. She's big (standing 5' 8"), looks to be in great shape, is tough, and is at least somewhat skilled everywhere. Unsurprisingly, because this is women's bantamweight, she's also utterly inexperienced as an MMA fighter. She's a willing striker standing, who likes to square up right in front of opponents and throw hands. She actually does a decent job mixing her punching combinations, going to the body and head, but is very wooden and defensively unaware in her delivery. If opponents are willing to stand and trade, she's there to be hit.

However, because she's big and powerful and a willing striker, she does a decent job scaring off competition from prolonged exchanges. She does get tied up a lot inside because she tends to stand so square, and while she's got the frame to work well in the clinch, she's not at all dominant there and can get pushed around a bit. She's got a decent trip takedown game inside, when she can catch an opponent off guard, but can be a bit wild with her grappling, losing positions when going for submissions. Her greatest talent seems to be in her toughness and cardio and ability to keep landing shots and going for subs as fights wear on and opponents wear down.

What this means for her debut:

Probably a loss. Faszholz is a decent prospect with a good future in MMA, but she's taking a big step up against someone that can meet her pretty well in her best skills. Murphy is just as big and tough and well known for her dogged cardio and grinding ground game. Given Faszholz's desire to square up and throw hands, I wouldn't be surprised to see her get caught with a reactive takedown and put on her back. In a fight between two equally sized and similarly styled fighters, experience should shine through as the deciding factor.

To get us better acquainted, here's Faszholz's most recent fight against Brittney Elkin: