An all women’s flyweight clash features on the main card of UFC Fight Night St. Louis this weekend, as former strawweight prospect Paige ’12 Gauge’ VanZant faces recent UFC debutante Jessica-Rose Clark.
Former Dancing with the Stars favorite VanZant, was submitted by Michelle Waterson in her most recent trip to the octagon, after a successful switch kick and strikes KO over Bec Rawlings in her UFC return, while Aussie native Clark also dispatched ‘Rowdy’ Rawlings via a narrow decision after her transition from Titan FC back in November 2017. VanZant’s initial flyweight bow was scheduled for UFC 216 against Jessica ‘Evil’ Eye until a back injury to the 23-year-old seen her pulled from the meeting.
Oregon born VanZant finished her strawweight journey occupying the #12 rank after a rear-naked choke defeat to former Invicta FC atomweight Waterson in their December 2016 main event in Sacramento. The former Team Alpha Male project has compiled a 7-3 professional record, scoring an impressive third-round knockout over Kailin Curran in her octagon bow, before winning decisions Felice Herrig and Alex Chambers, dropping her premier UFC defeat, this time at the hands of UFC strawweight champion ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas.
Back in November, VanZant tweeted “My next fight is against the winner of the 125lbs division ultimate fighter. Don’t blink.” Many began to question the thinking behind granting Paige a title fight, considering her loss to Waterson. VanZant later explained how she hoped the tweet may sway the UFC brass to consider matching her up with the champ, currently Nicco Montano.
‘Jessy Jess’ Clark arguably faces her most formidable talent in her six-year MMA career in the form of VanZant, with her only other notable opponents coming in the form of Sarah Kaufmann and the aforementioned Rawlings. Regardless, Clark possesses some sharp footwork and movement which she will likely utilize to avoid any grappling exchanges with ’12 Gauge’. With only four finishes throughout a 13 fight career, Clark isn’t a hugely explosive striker or a renowned grappler, holding a blue belt in BJJ.
Favorable matchup for VanZant’s flyweight bow.
PREDICTION: Paige VanZant via unanimous decision.