Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Big Bad Blog Video Theatre-Katja Kankaanpaa vs Aisling Daly

Here's the match video from yesterday's Cage Warriors show in Dublin, Ireland with local favourite Aisling Daly facing Finnish fighter Katja Kankaanpaa. Katja is undefeated at 6-0-1 and this was her first fight outside Finland. And she's fighting in her opponent's home territory. And most folks watching don't know who she is. And they all know Aisling so they're rooting for her. But readers of this blog should already be familiar with Katja. She has wins over Karla Benitez and VV Mei. And I posted both match videos. Her last fight was a draw against British fighter Simona Soukoupova. I thought Katja won that fight but it was close. The big question was how she would react to that adversity and also the experience of fighting in a foreign land. Katja is a grappler and has good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills. Aisling is a striker who historically hasn't been effective on the ground. So I thought if Katja took the match to the ground, she would have a very good chance of winning. Aisling came out aggressively but Katja showed a lot of poise by defending well and landing some of her own strikes. Then Katja took Aisling down and controlled her for the rest of the round with ground and pound and some submission attempts. Katja showed a very high level of grappling ability. She is very well coached. Katja wins round one 10-9. She did pretty much the same thing in round two. So Aisling needed a finish in round three. She did a little better in round three but I think that was because Katja was playing it safe. Two of the judges gave Katja round three. It hardly matters. Katja Kankaanpaa won by unanimous decision. Some thought it was an upset. Because I had seen Katja before and knew what her skills are, I don't think it's an upset. She may be the best female fighter to emerge from Europe in recent years. She's been tested by quality competition and has done very well. In the past, Katja has fought at 115lb. But this fight was at a catchweight of 120lb. Katja is someone Bellator should consider for their upcoming 125lb tournament. I think she would be a very good opponent for either Jessica Eye or Michelle Ould. I guess you are all going to have to learn to spell Katja Kankaanpaa. Enjoy the video.

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