Karolina Kowalkiewicz made a strong statement that she should be next to fight strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a unanimous decision victory over Rose Namajunas in the UFC 201 co-main event.
The 30-year-old Kowalkiewicz was actually the betting underdog going into the fight, and Namajunas tried to prove why as she came fast out of the gates looking to put together some quick combinations to start the fight.
Namajunas landed the better shots throughout the first round as Kowalkiewicz struggled to find her timing and accuracy against the former "Ultimate Fighter" finalist.
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As round two got underway, however, Kowalkiewicz settled into a much better game plan as she constantly grabbed onto Namajunas with the Muay Thai clinch and started unloading a series of heavy knees to the body.
The repeated attacks slowed Namajunas down considerably over the course of the second round, and it was much the same going into the third.
Kowalkiewicz using the body shots shifted the momentum of the fight into her favor. Once she had Namajunas hurt, she never let up until the bout was over.
The punishing attack to Namajunas' midsection not only brought her offense to a crashing halt, but it was the perfect attack for Kowalkiewicz to notch the victory after three rounds.
The final scores came back 29-28 on two cards for Kowalkiewicz and the third scored 29-28 for Namajunas for a split decision victory. Though most believe the Polish fighter should have earned the unanimous nod considering her strong performance.
Following the conclusion of the fight, Kowalkiewicz wasted no time calling out strawweight champion and fellow countrywoman Joanna Jedrzejczyk, whom she hopes to meet later this year with the belt on the line.
"Now I want a fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk," Kowalkiewicz said after the win. "I know Joanna. I know her. I respect her very much. She's the best in the world. I want to fight the best and I will beat the best."