This Sunday, #10 Karolina Kowalkiewicz will kick off Fight Night: Rotterdam’s main card at 2 p.m. ET.
With a strawweight bout versus Heather Jo Clark, the Łódź, Poland native has the tools (and the looks if we’re being honest) to be a star in the UFC’s 115 pound division.
Her competition – the Californian Clark – is no slouch of a fighter, though. After a victory in XFC, she lost a pair of decisions (one against 10-6 Felice Herrig) in a four-month span. But Heather the Hurricane bounced back with a pair of decision victories of her own, most recently a unanimous win over Bec Rawlings at the TUF 20 finale.
However, the praise stops there. Heather Jo will be suffering from ring rust. With nearly 17 months between fights at the age of 35, let’s just say “outlook not so good”.
Cue Kowalkiewicz. Coming in at 8-0, five years younger and a one-inch reach advantage, she is the clear favourite in my books. With three decision-victories in a row (recent unanimous v. Ronda Markos) this seems like the most likely outcome for the krav maga/muay thai fighter.
If I may, let’s dive into some beloved fighting stats as per UFC’s official card. The difference in strikes/minute is minimal but the accuracy favours Clark by nearly 18% (39 to 56.6). However, the absorbed punches and defense are what I believe tell the story. Kowalkiewicz absorbs just 2.27 punches per min with 66% defense, which tells me not only is she avoiding more strikes than Clark (4.46 absorbed p/m) but she’s blocking a lot more than the Hurricane (41.53% defense).
TL:DR – In addition to the ring rust and age difference working against Clark, I’m predicting she gets picked apart for 15 minutes en route to another unanimous W for 10th ranked strawweight from Poland.
Remember when I said she had the right look, too? Another win for Kowalkiewicz puts her in-line for a top-seven fight in my opinion. Valerie Letourneau (5) or Jessica Penne (6) would be worthy fights however, I feel #7 Paige VanZant (6-2) is who should be next.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, she still has to come out and fight this Sunday, but a bout against the UFC’s prized, marketing-wonder & dancer VanZant could decide whether she (Paige) is the prospect they hoped her to be.
Expect a decision victory for the European, but a TKO could also be on the card if Clark runs out of steam.