Jessica-Rose Clark returns to UFC action this weekend for the first time since September 2020. The heavily tattooed Aussie dominated Sarah Alpar last time out having dropped two consecutive fights prior. Holding wins over Paige Van-Zant, Bec Rawlings and Sarah Alpar in the UFC, Clark looks to continue her winning run this weekend. She is set to face off against Joselyne Edwards at UFC Vegas 41, which is headlined by Marvin Vettori and Paulo Costa.
New Look Clark
In her last bout, we saw a new look Jessica-Rose Clark. Working with Kirian Fitzgibbons, Clark looked better than ever in the clinch and stand-up game. She also dealt with Alpar’s takedowns well, defending nine of 11 attempts. She has put more of an emphasis on her diet, maintaining a ‘fight shape’ outside of camp and getting a lot stronger. She claims to be ‘stronger, faster and more athletic’ in a recent Instagram post.
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We saw against Alpha just how strong she was, being able to dominate in the clinch, using her superior strength in order to be able to stand up whenever she was taken down and clocking up 8:18 control time. She landed 124 strikes to Alpar’s 24, showing great distance control throughout.
The finish came when Clark stung ‘Too sweet’ with multiple strikes, causing her to cover up. As she dropped down, the Aussie landed a savage knee, busting Alpar open. A strange end to the fight saw the fight stopped, with Alpar sitting on the stool before the referee deemed it a legal strike and allowed the fight to continue. More savagery from Clark ensued following the momentary pause in the action, before a mercenary stoppage from the referee following a series of brutal knees.
Clark vs. Edwards
Clark returns for the first time in over a year to face the rangey, Joselyne Edwards. Edwards is 1-1 in the UFC thus far, having stepped in on short notice for her debut. She was extremely active in that fight, landing 111 total strikes. Against Karol Rosa in her second fight, however, she was limited to just 70 total strikes. This was largely down to Rosa being able to control Edwards for 11:13 of their 15-minute bout. She was taken down four times and was largely controlled in each round.
If Clark wanted to try and capitalise on this apparent weakness of Edwards’, she needs to improve her wrestling game. She lands just 1.01 takedowns per 15-minutes, landing just five in her five UFC bouts. Expect Clark to be able to use her strength and superior muay Thai skills to dominate Edwards in the clinch if it makes it there.
The stats that both of these women have, however, would suggest that this one is going to be all action for as long as it lasts. Clark lands 4.68 strikes per minute and absorbs 3.98 per minute. In the opposing corner, Edwards lands 4.20 strikes, absorbing 3.83. Clark has a better defence, with 60% whereas Edwards’ has just 46% defence. This suggests that both women are active and not afraid to take one to land one, hopefully leading to a great fight.
Pick – Clark via unanimous decision having worked her way in and dominated in the clinch throughout using her sharp elbows, knees and superior strength.
UFC Vegas 41
The headliner of UFC Vegas 41 sees Marvin Vettori take on Paulo Costa in a clash of top middleweights. Both men are coming off the back of dominant losses at the hands of the champion, Israel Adesanya. Both men are in search of a win to stay relevant as the loser of this one is sure to drop right out of the upper echelons of the division.
In the co-main, the hard-hitting Grant Dawson looks to extend his eight-fight winning run when he takes on Ricky Glenn. Last time out, Dawson came back from a tough bout to knock out Leonardo Santos with one second left of the final round. Glenn is looking to put two wins together for the first time since 2017 following a 37 second finish in June.
Elsewhere on the card, two British prospects feature, with Mason Jones and Jai Herbert returning as well as a number of debutants looking to make a name for themselves in Vegas.
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