Finland’s Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpää picked up another big win tonight at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 51 in Dublin, Ireland. Kankaanpää stayed unbeaten with a Unanimous Decision win over hometown standout Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly in a featured 120-pound catchweight bout.
Kankaanpää has put together a solid run in 2012 with impressive wins over Daly and final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi, and a Split Draw with English prospect Simona Soukupova. The Cage Warriors 51 bout tonight marked Kankaanpää’s first fight outside of her home country.
Kankaanpää (7-0-1) countered early punches from Daly (13-5-0) with short elbows in the clinch. She took Daly down, but had to fight off an armbar. Kankaanpää moved to side control and landed more elbows until she was able to set up a Brabo Choke from North-South position. Daly stood to escape the choke, but Kankaanpää scored with knees and secured another takedown before the end of the round.
The middle stanza began with an exchange of big power punches and Daly landed a solid combination. Kankaanpää took Daly down to escape a guillotine choke attempt and worked her way to back control. Daly stood up twice, but Kankaanpää took her back down and landed elbows before attempting an omoplata. She used it to roll into top position and briefly got to mount. Daly scrambled to her feet and the round ended in a clinch.
Daly began the final round with kicks and Kankaanpää pawed out with jabs from a distance. She grazed Daly’s jaw with a head kick and both fighters scored very brief takedowns. Kankaanpää took Daly’s back, but Daly turned into the clinch and threw knees in close. The fighters separated and Daly landed a nice right hook, but Kankaanpää began to flurry with punches. She appeared to hold an edge in the exchanges until late in the round when Daly scored with knees. The fight ended with the fighters trading punches and knees in close.
One cageside judge awarded the close final round to Daly, while the remaining two saw it as a clean sweep for Kankaanpää, who remains unbeaten in her pro career.
Winner: Katja Kankaanpää by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) after three rounds. She improves to 7-0-1.
(Photo Credit: Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors)