Paige VanZant was hardly dominant against Bec Rawlings in her UFC on FOX 21 main card bout, but her finish was emphatic and it earned her an additional $50,000 performance bonus. The 22-year-old strawweight rising star floored Rawlings with a jumping switch kick that was soon followed by some short punches and hammerfists to force the 2nd round stoppage.
VanZant (7-2) was more than willing to throw a lot of flashy kicks in the opening round, so much so that Rawlings even laughed and shrugged her shoulders when Paige failed to connect on a jumping spinning kick. Paige started both rounds 1 and 2 with flying attacks, but eventually she got the one she needed to get her the victory.
On the Fox Sports post-fight show, VanZant revealed the training nickname that her and Team Alpha Male had given that particular finishing move.
"We call it a ‘kick the can,' the one I knocked her out with," VanZant said. "I've done that a few times in training camp. I was like, I might as well go out there and use everything in my arsenal."
VanZant also stated that this was the first time that she feels like she's "maturing as a fighter" and listening to what her corner was saying during fights ("not on purpose," she added). With Justin Buchholz in her corner last Saturday, she relayed what Buchholz had told her before the knockout.
"I heard him say, ‘left kick, left kick, left kick,' and he kept telling me it's open and I finally decided it's open and I went for it."
As for what the gameplan was coming into the Rawlings showdown, Paige detailed that there was an emphasis on looking out for Rawlings' boxing.
"Coming in, I knew that she might have superior boxing than I did and that was something I really wanted to work on for this fight, not immediately closing the distance and trying to rush her, because she would have a really strong right hand," VanZant said. "I wanted to kind of keep my distance, feel her out, see what she did, see how she reacted to all my moves and kind of felt it out and got the finish in the second."
VanZant is now 4-1 inside the Octagon, with 3 of those victories ending in a finish.
(Transcription via MMA Fighting)