Jessica-Rose Clark Overcomes Traumatic Week and Paige VanZant (UFC St Louis Results)

January 15, 2018

Jessica-Rose Clark overcame a traumatic week to defeat Paige VanZant at UFC Fight Night 124 on Sunday night in St. Louis.

Clark came into the fight having won back-to-back split decisions, including her UFC debut victory over Bec Rawlings. VanZant was making her flyweight debut on Sunday, looking to bounce back after having lost 2 of her last 3 bouts at strawweight.

Though she looked sharp in her stand-up, VanZant wasn’t able to overcome Clark’s smothering ground attack and limped out of the fight with what appeared to be an injury to her right arm.

VanZant was darting in and out early in the fight, peppering Clark with punches and launching somewhat unorthodox skipping kicks and front leg sidekicks. 

Though VanZant’s strategy seemed to take Clark out of her stand-up rhythm, it only worked until the two clinched and the fight hit the canvas. VanZant got back to her feet quickly, but as they stood, Clark locked on a head-and-arm choke and drug the fight back to the ground.

Clark kept the hold on, although she was on the wrong side of VanZant’s body to effectively finish the fight. She kept control and fighting for the choke for the duration of the round, controlling position for the majority of the first stanza.

VanZant started much the same in round two, again showing some unorthodox striking, partially landing a spinning backfist before Clark clinched again and pulled VanZant down into her full guard. 

Clark transitioned and attacked VanZant’s leg, looking for a submission, but she escaped. As quickly as VanZant escaped, Clark grabbed hold of her legs and brought her back to the canvas, this time taking top position in VanZant’s half guard and again looking for the head-and-arm choke. 

After she couldn’t find the choke, Clark was warned by the referee to advance her position. As she tried to do so, VanZant reversed position, ending up in Clark’s full guard. Clark immediately attacked, putting VanZant into a triangle choke that appeared tight, but VanZant kept defending, eating a few punches and elbows from Clark as the round ended.

VanZant opened the third frame again attacking from distance, but this time it quickly became clear that something was wrong with her right arm, as she was only launching kicks and left hands, being careful to keep her right arm out of Clark’s grasp. 

Though it seemed obvious that VanZant was consciously choosing not to use her right arm, Clark didn’t seem to pick up on it. For some reason, she didn’t close the distance as she had earlier in the fight, instead stayed at the sharp end of VanZant’s kicks and jumping knees, trying to land counter punches. 

VanZant, however, couldn’t find a way to finish the fight either, and time ran out with Clark winning a unanimous decision from the judges.

It wasn’t a stellar performance, but a strong one from Clark, which was made all the more impressive when she revealed the emotional trauma that she had suffered in the days leading up to the fight. 

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“It was hard. For those who don’t know, my house got robbed. They stole $30,000 worth of stuff and they killed my cat on Thursday,” Clark said.

“So this week, the weight cut and everything was really tough, trying to get that out of my head and focus on the fight, but we did what we needed to do.”

The victory moves Clark to 9-4 (1NC) overall with back-to-back wins in the UFC Octagon.