Unbeaten Finnish prospect Katja Kankaanpää picked up the biggest victory of her young MMA career tonight in the main event of Botnia Punishment 11 in Seinäjoki, Finland. Kankaanpää defeated final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi by Unanimous Decision after three rounds.
Kankaanpää looked to have a significant size and strength advantage over her opponent, and she used it to reverse Yamaguchi’s takedowns as the fight progressed. After a dominant second round, Kankaanpää closed out round three with a big takedown en route to the well-earned decision win.
Kankaanpää (6-0-0) countered early leg kicks from Yamaguchi (9-4-1) by establishing her jab and circling on the outside. Yamaguchi clinched, but Kankaanpää threw her to the mat and secured a guillotine choke on the way up. Yamaguchi escaped and Kankaanpää pressed her against the ropes, then scored a takedown in the middle of the ring. Yamaguchi attempted a triangle choke from the bottom and punched away as Kankaanpää tried to free herself. Kankaanpää slammed Yamaguchi down, but could not escape and Yamaguchi continued to strike from the bottom. Kankaanpää used another slam to escape the triangle and landed punches, but round one appeared to be Yamaguchi’s.
Yamaguchi opened round two with a pair of leg kicks, but Kankaanpää answered with a hard right hook and took her down. From the top in half-guard, Kankaanpää landed numerous elbows to the head and body. Yamaguchi managed to get back to guard, but not before eating more elbows. Kankaanpää remained active with punches from guard until Yamaguchi scrambled up. Kankaanpää landed a knee and followed with a right cross and a body kick. Kankaanpää got the better of the striking exchanges in the final minute and round two clearly belonged to the hometown Finnish fighter.
Kankaanpää put together a combination of punches and a leg kick to begin the final round. Yamaguchi replied with a flurry of her own and scored a takedown, but Kankaanpää sprung back to her feet and took Yamaguchi down. Yamaguchi tried to set up a triangle choke, but Kankaanpää landed punches and stood up. Yamaguchi followed and countered a trio of jabs with some of her best punches of the fight. She closed the distance with a clinch against the ropes, but Kankaanpää reversed and dragged her to the mat. Yamaguchi stood and was slammed to the canvas just before the bell. Kankaanpää landed hammerfists to close out the fight.
All three ringside judges saw the bout the same and awarded the decision victory to Kankaanpää, who kept her unbeaten record intact with the impressive win.
Winner: Katja Kankaanpää by Unanimous Decision after three rounds. She improves to 6-0-0.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)