Former UFC title challenger Sara McMann earned her third straight win in quick and easy fashion tonight at UFC Fight Night 105: “Lewis vs Browne” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. McMann submitted an overmatched and overweight Gina “Danger” Mazany early in a would-be bantamweight bout.
Tonight’s card also featured a much more competitive women’s bout in the strawweight division, and rising star Randa “Quiet Storm” Markos took a razor-thin Split Decision victory over former UFC champion Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza after three entertaining rounds of back-and-forth action.
McMann (11-3-0) cracked Mazany (4-1-0) with right hands in the opening seconds and promptly took her down against the cage. Mazany, who took the fight on short notice, managed to get back to her feet very briefly before she was taken down again. McMann immediately locked on an arm-triangle choke from the top in mount and Mazany hastily tapped out.
Post-fight, McMann again requested another shot at the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship, but she is likely still at least one more notable win away from getting another crack at title gold.
Winner: Sara McMann by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 1:14 of round one. She improves to 11-3-0.
Markos (7-4-0) bounced back from a disappointing submission setback in August by scoring her biggest victory to date tonight in the form of an upset win over former champion Esparza (11-4-0).
In round one, Markos kept a low stance and pawed out with jabs that kept Esparza at range. Midway through the round, Esparza began to find a home for her right hand and she repeatedly scored with straight rights to Markos’s jaw. Esparza shot in for a takedown and got Markos down, but Markos countered with a modified rear crucifix that allowed her to land a series of unanswered hammerfists to the side of Esparza’s head. Esparza freed herself in the final ten seconds and she finished the round with ground and pound.
Esparza was more aggressive on the feet in the second stanza, and she pressed forward with quick combinations. Hard right hands were exchanged and Esparza connected with a four-punch flurry. She stunned Markos with three more punches, but Markos recovered and she ran at Esparza with looping hooks that landed. Esparza took her down and secured a tight arm-triangle choke, but Markos held on for almost a full minute and made it to the bell.
With the fight seemingly up for grabs heading into round three, Markos attacked with combinations and a nice spinning backfist in the opening minute. She continued to control the striking exchanges until Esparza clinched and landed two knees to the body. Markos fought off one takedown, but Esparza got her down on her second try and landed an illegal knee on the way up that went undetected by referee Keith Peterson. Markos bled from above her right eye, but she scored with a three-punch combination before Esparza took her down at the bell.
One judge favoured Esparza’s takedowns and late-fight offence and awarded her a 29-28 scorecard, but the remaining two judges both saw the fight 29-28 in favour of Markos, who picked up a massive victory that now propels her back into a short list of title contenders. Esparza has suffered defeats in two of her past three bouts.
Winner: Randa Markos by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) after three rounds. She improves to 7-4-0.
(Photo Credit: UFC)