Episode 10 of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters featured the first women’s featherweight semi-final bout between Team Gastelum’s Pannie Kianzad and Team Whittaker’s Julija Stoliarenko.
The Fight: Pannie Kianzad vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Stoliarenko delivered leg kicks in the opening frame while Kianzad used her boxing to keep the Lithuanian on the outside. Kianzad defended Stoliarenko’s takedown attempts and began to put together combinations. Stoliarenko closed the distance and had success in the clinch but absorbed some heavy shots in the closing moments of the round.
After a competitive opening frame, Kianzad opened up with her striking in the second round. She knocked Stoliarenko down with a left hand. Stoliarenko desperately worked to get the fight to the ground but was unable to put Kianzad on her back. Kianzad’s right hand began to find a home regularly. At the end of the second frame both fighters were bloodied but the momentum was heavily in Kianzad’s favor.
In the final round Kianzad continues to land combinations. Stoliarenko remained game and showed her durability but Kianzad’s power punches were adding up. After three rounds of fighting all three judges scored the bout for Kianzad by unanimous decision.
“I knew she wanted to take me down, but I am in way better condition and I was ready for it. I wanted to keep the fight standing. My nose was bleeding, but for me it is just one of those things when it starts bleeding it just doesn’t stop! But I knew she couldn’t hang with me standing wise,” said Kianzad after advancing to the finals.
“I am so proud of Team Kelvin and I love everything about training with them. I am going to give the rest of training my all and do everything in my power to be the next Ultimate Fighter,” she added.
“Julija is obviously a great grappler, she likes to take people down and submit them, very Ronda Rousey style. We prepared since day one for this fight because this is the fight Pannie wanted. The plan was to not get taken down and just box her up and that is what she did. She did amazing,” said coach Kelvin Gastelum.
“This is exactly the type of fight I was expecting. I went in wanting a finish because she is one of those fighters that looks good in front of the judges. I had no damage and I think she looks worse, but points are points and she won fair and square,” Stoliarenko said after the loss.
“I loved everything about being here and I had a great experience. I am the first ever Lithuanian on TUF so I am happy to bring recognition to myself and my country through this show.”
Next week’s episode features the final men’s heavyweight bout of the season. Team Whittaker’s Juan Espino faces Team Gastelum’s Maurice Greene. The winner will face Justin Frazier in the finale.