Erin Blanchfield was supposed to be too young and inexperienced to defeat Jéssica Andrade. The odds makers still listed Andrade as the favorite, even though she’d taken the fight on just a week’s notice. She is known as a year-round athlete who never takes a break from training; there was no way a 23-year-old was going to beat the former UFC Strawweight Champion. Too bad nobody told Blanchfield she was supposed to lose. In an enormous upset that shook up the Women’s Flyweight Division, Erin Blanchfield submitted Jéssica Andrade in the second round of their main event showdown at UFC Vegas 69. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Andrade Vs. Blanchfield
In the first few seconds of round one, Jéssica Andrade landed an impactful left handed jab that announced to everyone viewing the fight that she meant business. However, Blanchfield would not be deterred and continued to apply forward pressure in spite of the veteran’s power. Blanchfield displayed elite quickness and timing by being able to slip through Andrade’s defense and land strikes of her own. Near the end of the round, Blanchfield attempted a takedown but Andrade displayed good defense and was able to prevent the maneuver from being successful.
A little over a minute into round two, Erin Blanchfield executed a beautiful level change takedown that forced Andrade to the mat. She quickly took advantage of the moment and established a fierce anaconda chokehold. The grip was too tight for Andrade to escape from and she was forced to tap out. It was a dramatic submission victory for Erin Blanchfield! Prior to the mat, most pundits thought it was only a matter of time before Andrade received another shot at dethroning Valentina Shevchenko. Now, the number one contender may very well be the 23-year-old Blanchfield instead.
Wright Vs. Pauga
Former Houston Texans fullback Zac Pauga made a concerted effort to apply heavy pressure to challenger Jordan Wright for the entire duration of their light heavyweight showdown. The first round was relatively uneventful; it consisted almost entirely of Wright playing takedown defense along the fence while Pauga unsuccessfully tried to wrestle him to the mat. Fortunately, the remaining two rounds had a more entertaining pace and cadence.
Although Pauga again attempted to to take the fight to the mat, he also found success with a flurry of impactful elbows in round two. In round three, Pauga landed a huge overhand right that sent Wright crashing to the mat. He also landed several well-timed jabs on the second half of the round. By the end of the period, Wright was bleeding badly from a cut over his right eye. Ultimately, Zac Pauga was awarded a unanimous decision victory by the judges for his efforts.
Parisian Vs. Pogues
Heavyweight challenger Jamal Pogues walked to the octagon with tears streaming down his face in preparation for his fight against Josh Parisian. This night marked the first time his parents attended one of his fights in person since 2019. His mother was diagnosed with cancer and the treatments rendered her unable to travel. Now, she is in recovery and is doing much better. It was an emotional night for his family.
Just over a minute into round one, Pogues landed a huge takedown that sent Parisian to the mat with a thud. Parisian eventually fought to his feet but Pogues was able to execute the same maneuver with just over 30 seconds remaining in the round. Pogues had the clear strength advantage between the two men, as he scored two more takedowns in the first 90 seconds of round two. However, Parisian was not ready to give up; he finished round two with an impressive combination of forward pressure and well-timed strikes.
A low blow by Parisian caused a pause in the action within the first 60 seconds of round three. 30 seconds after fighting resumed, Pogues scored yet another takedown. He then executed an impressive amount of ground control time. Parisian knew he needed a finish in order to secure a victory, so he unleashed an intense barrage of punches once he was able to fight back to his feet. However, it was not enough and Pogues was able to survive the round. He was awarded a unanimous decision by the judges. Jamal Pogues is an interesting prospect to keep an eye on in the heavyweight division.
Knight Vs. Prachnio
Light Heavyweight challenger William Knight turned in one of the most bizarre performances I have ever seen in his fight against Marcin Prachnio. Yes, Prachnio executed a clever gameplan of using calf kicks to hinder the productivity of Knight. However, Knight just complained about the maneuver and refused to respond. Knight landed one good calf kick of his own the entire fight and threw a handful of strikes. That’s all he did the entire fight.
Unfortunately for Prachnio, Knight’s failure to compete is going to overshadow the fact that he performed well. He was very active; his calf kicks were well-timed and his ability to land high kicks to the head was impressive. He also did a great job of mixing in striking to go along with his kicking strategy. Honestly, he did enough to emerge victorious against a more well-engaged fighter. Ultimately, Prachnio gave the fans what they deserve, a well-prepared fighter who came to perform the task at hand and executed a gameplan. Prachnio was awarded a unanimous decision victory by the judges.
Miller Vs. Hernandez
Jim Miller looked very much like a fighter who will turn 40-years-old this year. He was a step behind lightweight challenger Alexander Hernandez all fight long. By the end of round one, Hernandez’s superior quickness had caused Miller to begin bleeding from his nose. In round two, Miller tried to intensify his barrage but Hernandez’s quick counterpunching prevented any of it from being successful. In round three, Miller executed a great takedown, followed by a body triangle. However, Hernandez was able to slip out of it and end any chance Miller had of winning the fight. The referees awarded Alex Hernandez a unanimous decision victory for his efforts.
Light Heavyweight prospect William Knight has one of the most impressive physiques in all of mixed martial arts. However, there is a difference between training and body building. If you’re going to be successful in sports, the exercises you do have to be sport-specific. That has been one of the biggest criticisms that Tyson Fury has used against Anthony Joshua his entire career. He argues that Joshua spends his time doing exercises that make him look like a bodybuilder instead of making him a better boxer. Regardless, William Knight put on a pathetic performance against Marcin Prachnio and he seriously needs to reevaluate his level of dedication to the sport.
The UFC returns next week with another edition of Fight Night from The Apex Center in Las Vegas. The main event of the evening features Light Heavyweights Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann in a must-see showdown with major divisional ranking implications. You won’t want to miss it! As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis, available right here at World in Sport!