Flyweight Paige VanZant returned to the octagon on Saturday after being sidelined for more than a year due to a broken arm that required two surgeries to mend. “12 Gauge” faced Rachael Ostovich on the UFC Brooklyn main card and walked away with her third career submission win.
VanZant entered the bout coming off back-to-back losses and a long layoff. In the opening round, Ostovich was giving VanZant all she could handle. Ostovich secured an early takedown but was unable to inflict damage or improve her position. The referee stood the fighters up but the fight quickly went back to the ground. Ostovich landed a hard right hand and took VanZant down a second time. At the end of the first frame, Ostovich had VanZant mounted and was working to set up an armbar.
VanZant walked into a right hand in the early going of the second round and Ostovich secured another takedown. VanZant scrambled out of the position and took Ostovich’s back in the process. The 24-year old delivered a series of left hands. Ostovich tried to escape the position but VanZant locked on an armbar forcing the Hawaiian to tap out.
“I probably scared a few of you during the first round. I obviously still have a lot to work on. It was a difficult journey back only being able to train a short time with my arm,” she said following the win.
“God really likes to test me and I feel like I was tested that first round. I know I have a lot to work on, but I’m back.”
Ostovich overcame a lot to be on Saturday’s fight card, and VanZant thanked her for taking the fight. Ostovich was a victim of domestic violence in November and suffered serious injuries including a broken orbital bone. When VanZant felt Ostovich tap out, she immediately let the submission go although the referee couldn’t see the tap.
“I did feel her tap, but the refs in the back say do not let go until we pull the person off of you. She tapped on my hip. I hear her arm pop a little. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. I came back and she’s going to come back strong too,” VanZant said.
The win was VanZant’s first in the flyweight division. Healthy and uninjured, she’d like to make a quick return and fight again next month.
“Everything feels great, so I’d like to be on that first live ESPN card in February. Put me back in there,” she said.