Finnish strawweight prospect Katja Kankaanpää narrowly kept her unbeaten record intact tonight in the main event of Botnia Punishment 12 in Seinäjoki, Finland. The hometown favourite battled England’s Simona Soukupova to a hotly-contested Split Draw after 15 minutes of back-and-forth action.
The fighters traded takedowns in the opening rounds and both threatened with submissions. Kankaanpää worked for a kneebar late in round one and Soukupova nearly finished the fight with an armbar in the dying seconds of round two. The close fight ultimately ended with both fighters’ hands raised.
Kankaanpää (6-0-1) and Soukupova (2-2-1) each scored a takedown in the opening minute of the fight, but neither fighter could keep her opponent down for long. On the feet, Kankaanpää landed leg kicks and punches and Soukupova countered with knees. After a quick flurry from Soukupova, Kankaanpää dropped levels and slammed her down to the mat. Soukupova was active from her back, however, and landed elbows before attempted a triangle choke. Kankaanpää escaped and spun into a kneebar just before the end of the round.
Kankaanpää took the fight to the mat early in round two and landed some solid punches from the top. She latched onto Soukupova’s leg in search of another kneebar, but Soukupova escaped. Kankaanpää stood up and rained down a big right hand, then returned to Soukupova’s guard. Soukupova was once again active from the bottom and she locked on a tight armbar that had Kankaanpää in some trouble. Soukupova rolled through and fully extended the armbar, but Kankaanpää managed to scramble and survived until the bell.
Soukupova opened round three with a stiff jab that was met by an overhand right from Kankaanpää. It was Soukupova who scored the first takedown of the round and she nearly passed to side control before Kankaanpää swept and stood. Knees were exchanged in the clinch and Kankaanpää threw Soukupova to the ground. She punched from the top and Soukupova looked to counter with a submission. The fight eventually returned to the feet and both fighters landed punches and body kicks. Kankaanpää took Soukupova down one final time as the round came to an end.
After three rounds, the judges were unable to determine a winner. One judge awarded the close fight to Kankaanpää, while another saw it for Soukupova. A third ruled the fight even and the result was a Split Draw that earned applause from the crowd in attendance.
Result: Split Draw after three rounds. Kankaanpää moves to 6-0-1, while Soukupova is now 2-2-1.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)