Karolina Kowalkiewicz Knocks Off Felice Herrig in a Rugged Fight, Takes Split-Decisicon

Karolina Kowalkiewicz Knocks Off Felice Herrig in a Rugged Fight, Takes Split-Decisicon

By: Justin Adam Grant

A native of Illinois, Felice Herrig, had one simple request: To go up against the number four ranked Strawweight fighter, Karolina Kowalkiewicz on April 7 in Brooklyn.

Herrig’s (13-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) wish came true, as she was matched up against the former title challenger for UFC 223. Going in to the bout, she was seeking her longest active streak of victories in the division (five) and an entrance into the title picture.

           However, the Poland native, Kowalkiewicz (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), led the striking attack most of Saturday night at Barclays Center and won with a pair of 29-28 scores.

In the first two-rounds, the Octagon belonged to Kowalkiewicz. In round 1, she landed a right hand in response to a leg kick from Herrig. Soon after that, she landed another one. Midway through the heated battle, the women started trading punches, then, Herrig worked tirelessly for a takedown, however, Kowalkiewicz managed to stay on her feet and separated from Herrig. Herrig didn’t have much of an answer to the precise striking of Kowalkiewicz, or for the matter, her surprisingly slick groundwork, as Herrig was reversed on several takedown attempts.

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- Credit: Dennis Schneidler, USA TODAY Sports

Nevertheless, Herrig still had a lot of fight left in her. Throughout the second round, Kowalkiewicz led the charge in the striking department, but Herrig continued to fire back at Kowalkiewicz and couldn’t change the tide. At one point in the round, Herrig could be seen tying her up with a body lock looking for a takedown, although Kowalkiewicz was able to break apart and dropped Herrig to her back looking for a rolling kneebar.

After Kowalkiewicz powered past Herrig in the first two-rounds, Herrig for sure wanted to avoid a shutout against a packed house at Barclays Center. In the third round, Kowalkiewicz continued to lead in the striking department as Herrig was left to mostly counter, and some of those counters were good. Herrig ran away with the victory in the round, but came short from a true rally. This marked Herrig’s first defeat for the first time in nearly three years.

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- Credit: Dennis Schneidler, USA TODAY Sports

Following Kowalkiewicz’s second consecutive victory, she explained to a pool of reporters that she was flabbergasted on how the judges scored it as a split-decision.

“I do not know how the judges scored it as a split decision… It was clear that I won all three rounds. Right now, I want to take a vacation and spend time with my family – but I will be watching Rose (Namajunas) and Joanna (Jedrzejczyk) closely tonight.”

When asked what’s her goal in the future, she mentioned it was to earn another title shot. However, Herrig’s goal will have to wait some time as she missed her opportunity of winning her fifth straight fight despite facing against her desired opponent.

Most importantly, Herrig believed if she punched past Kowalkiewicz Saturday night, she deserved a title shot after a five-fight win streak against the fourth-ranked girl. And for Kowalkiewicz, she believes in celebrating her astonishing victory by eating unhealthy food and drinking a lot of beer.

As the night was wrapping up, Kowalkiewicz had six key words to describe her momentous win, “I’m excited I won the fight.”  

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