Diana “Dynamite” Rael snapped the first two-fight losing streak of her career with an impressive submission victory on Saturday night at Made For War 1 in Castle Rock, Colorado. Rael handed fellow atomweight prospect Darla “Train Wreck” Harris her first pro loss via second-round rear-naked choke.
Also on Saturday night, Jackson’s MMA representative Emily Kagan made the most of a short-notice opportunity by defeating the previously unbeaten Glena “Heartless” Avila at Dakota FC 13: “Coming Home” in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Kagan earned a Split Decision victory after three rounds.
Rael (4-3-0) landed a hard one-two early in the fight with Harris (3-1-0) and clinched against the cage. She tripped Harris to the mat and landed a series of punches and elbows while avoiding her opponent’s inverted triangle choke attempts. Harris initiated a scramble, but Rael remained on top and scored with some big elbows from Harris’s guard until the end of the round.
Rael used a modified lateral drop from a Thai clinch to take Harris back down in round two. She pressed Harris up against the cage and landed short punches from her guard. As Harris spun into an armbar attempt, Rael used the opportunity to pass to side control and quickly locked on a rear-naked choke as Harris turned and gave up her back. Harris had nowhere to go and was forced to submit.
The victory gets Rael back on track after submission setbacks against Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson and Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto earlier this year. Three of Rael’s four wins have come inside the distance.
Winner: Diana Rael by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:41 of round two. She improves to 4-3-0.
In North Dakota, Kagan (2-0-0) and Avila (2-1-0) battled back and forth across three competitive rounds that were mostly contested in the clinch. Kagan, who stepped in on short notice to replace an injured Jordan Nicole Gaza, countered right hands from Avila with quick lefts in the early goings. Avila initiated a clinch and tried to hop onto Kagan’s back, but Kagan was able to score a trip takedown and worked from the top. She avoided an armbar attempt from Avila and the fighters traded punches on the feet to close out the round.
Avila was aggressive with punches and kicks in the second stanza and Kagan picked her shots with counters while circling to the side. Avila was able to secure a clinch and she held Kagan up against the fence for a prolonged period of time. She tried to pull guard with a triangle choke, but Kagan again stayed on her feet. Kagan fought off another takedown attempt shortly before the bell.
In the final round, Avila wasted no time in clinching once again and this time she was able to get Kagan down to the ground. The takedown was short-lived, however, and Kagan quickly returned to her feet. Avila continued to work for takedowns as Kagan snuck in punches with her left hand. Avila nearly took Kagan’s back and tried to jump guard, but Kagan defended well and the fight ended in the clinch.
While Avila initiated the grappling exchanges and appeared to be the aggressor, Kagan’s clinch work and counterstriking in close proved to be the difference maker. One judge scored the fight for Avila. The remaining two scored it for the winner by Split Decision, Kagan, who remains perfect as a professional.
Winner: Emily Kagan by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) after three rounds. She improves to 2-0-0.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)