Date: Saturday 21st October, 8pm (UK)
Location: Gdansk, Poland
Venue: Ergo Arena
Karolina Kowalkiewicz is in unfamiliar waters. In her last two fights she has suffered her first two defeats of her career, forcing her to go back to the drawing board for her first UFC fight on home soil. She is looking to pick herself up and bounce back after losing against the strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and number one contender, Claudia Gadelha.
She was particularly disappointed with her last loss against Gadelha as the Brazilian’s game plan was predictable. Kowalkiewicz seemed surprised and overwhelmed with Gadelha's strength as she was taken down and submitted with a rear-naked choke in the first round. She is now desperate to get back in the cage and prove her credentials against the UFC newcomer, Jodie Esquibel.
This is Esquibel’s third fight as a strawweight after losing a decision to Alexa Grasso and winning a decision over DeAnna Bennett since moving up in weight. The American started her career in the boxing ring with a mixed record of 7-7-1 but has grabbed the attention of fans with her striking skills under the Invicta banner.
Esquibel will fancy her chances of out-striking Kowalkiewicz but the only fighter who has managed this feat is the best striker in the division and current undisputed champion, Jedrzejczyk. Kowalkiewicz is not far behind the champion in terms of striking ability with elite level Muay Thai skills and a devastating clinch. This is a huge step up in competition for Esquibel as this match-up could fall straight into the hands of the home favourite.
The key stat highlighted below is Kowalkiewicz’s last two results. These were the first two losses of her career, however they could easily be the making of her. They were against the two best fighters in the division and she will have learnt more about herself in these two fights than all the wins she has had and will now be as motivated as ever to make a big statement on her return. As this is Esquibel’s UFC debut there are no striking/grappling stats to go on so we have broken down their finishing: