Lost in the fray of McGregor/Alvarez & Woodley/Thompson is likely an amazing fight between the current Women’s Strawweight Champion and her challenger.
Of course I’m talking about Joanna Jędrzejczyk versus Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a fight that is not only for the belt, but a battle of supremacy between the division’s (and possibly the sport’s) top two Polish fighters.
Kowalkiewicz has climbed the rankings of the strawweight division in order to line up an epic showdown for the title, but I don’t think she has what it takes to take down Joanna, but I could be surprised.
I like to think of Karolina as the Valentina Shevchenko of her division; a talented kick boxer with good stamina and precise striking that often surprises opponents due to her pretty face. That is, if you haven’t seen her fight.
The ‘Polish Princess’ is 10-0, with three of her wins coming via finish, all in the first round. I don’t think she is going to finish Joanna. If she does win, I think it will be a hard-fought five rounds where she has to endure a ton of punishment, and simply out last the champ to squeak out a split decision, something she’s not a stranger to.
The EA Sports UFC 2 simulation above is a lot closer to how I think things will go. We saw Joanna persevere through a few shots that seemed to hurt her against Claudia Gadelha. I think it will be a bit more of the same, it will take her a few minutes or possibly into the second round to figure out Karolina and then put the beat down on her.
Unlike the bantamweight division where talent is very close at the top right now with Ronda, Holly, Amanda and more, no one has looked close enough to Joanna to dethrone her. In fact, Gadelha was probably the closest we will get in a while.
As I mentioned, Karolina could surprise us, so in terms of betting odds I would put Joanna as a favourite at -220. While I would place Kowalkiewicz as the underdog somewhere around +250.
One thing is definitely for sure though, I’m certain all three title fights will live up to the hype one way or another this Saturday at MSG.