Paige VanZant Stops Kailin Curran At UFC Fight Night 57Talented strawweight prospect “12 Gauge” Paige VanZant put on the best performance of her pro career in her long-awaited Octagon debut tonight at UFC Fight Night 57: “Edgar vs Swanson” in Austin, Texas. VanZant stopped Hawaiian standout Kailin Curran with ground and pound in the third round.

It was Curran who got off to a strong start in the opening four minutes, but VanZant turned things around in a big way with a barrage of punches late in round one. She kept the pressure on as the fight progressed and finished Curran with a series of unanswered left hands midway through round three.


VanZant (4-1-0) and Curran (3-1-0) exchanged punches and leg kicks right away and VanZant backed Curran up against the cage. Curran countered with a standing elbow and she fought off a takedown attempt. She threw VanZant to the ground and briefly worked from the scarf hold position until VanZant scrambled back to her feet. Curran countered VanZant’s strikes in the clinch by taking her down.

VanZant attacked with a series of armbars from her back, but Curran escaped each time and landed some solid shots from the top. She punched her way out of a double armbar attempt, but VanZant secured an ankle pick sweep with 20 seconds to go and she immediately began to assault Curran with big punches from the top. Curran narrowly held on and made it to the bell, but VanZant appeared to steal the fantastic opening round with her late rally.

In round two, VanZant reversed a rolling takedown and she landed a series of right hands as the fighters returned to their feet. She held Curran against the fence and scored with punches and knees to the face until Curran countered with a takedown. VanZant stood and was briefly taken down again, but she stood up once more and continued to dominate the clinch battles with knees. Curran secured a late takedown and VanZant attempted an armbar from her back.

VanZant got Curran down against the base of the cage in round three and punished her with punches as the Hawaiian got back to her feet. Curran landed knees to the body and VanZant responded with foot stomps that forced Curran to adjust her stance. VanZant threw her forward on her face and unloaded with numerous left hands until referee Kerry Hatley stepped in to stop the fight.

Tonight’s big victory was a long time coming for VanZant, who was originally scheduled to be a part of The Ultimate Fighter 20. She was removed from the show’s cast due to failing to meet the minimum legal age for alcohol consumption as TUF producers insisted on stocking the “TUF House” with alcohol. VanZant’s lone defeat came in early 2013 when she was outpointed by current TUF 20 competitor Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres at Invicta FC 4. She is 3-0 in bouts that have taken place in Texas.

Winner: Paige VanZant by TKO (Punches) at 2:54 of round three. She improves to 4-1-0.



(Photo Credit: UFC)

  1. Vanzant improved massively, showing great clinch savviness here. In her previous fighgs, I saw tons of wall’n’stall, but not so much effectiveness. Also, she was at 100%, nom-stop, for three rounds, keeping up an exciting pace throughout the entire fight.

  2. Very interesting how Vanzant and Inoue are going in two different directions in their careers. Both are 20, but Inoue was ranked as high as #5 and considered a future champ. They both faced similar level opponents with Paige fighting on a much bigger stage. Inoue fought defensive and lost to a fighter she had no business losing to. Paige fought aggressively and finished the talented Curran. Inoue’s people now think she isn’t ready for UFC and needs more minor league seasoning in Invicta and DEEP. Paige is already 1-0 in UFC and has a ton of fans now. Funny how quickly things change.

  3. Great article and great that Van Zant did so well and earned a stoppage win! Yes I remember she was “too young” to be on TUF 20. Very good of the UFC to give her a direct contract. I just now also read that she and Kailin Curran won FOTN!! That’s $50K apiece! Was this the first Fight of the Night honors to be given to the women in the UFC? I know Ronda has won Performance of the Night at least a couple of times. But perhaps Rousey – Carmouche was FOTN for UFC 157? Anyway well done girls!! This is great for WMMA too!

  4. She looked like a completely different fighter than her previous outings. Good for her. She will be a star. How can you not like that combination of looks, grit, and attitude.

  5. Great observation, TJ…I also used to think the Jap could run the table if given the chance. She has raw, pure talent!