Simply getting into the Octagon was a victory of sorts for Jessica Aguilar.
The former World Series of Fighting strawweight champion was once regarded as the world’s best fighter at 115 pounds. But injuries have meant the 35-year-old American Top Team Fighter has only been able to compete once in the past 2-1/2 years.
So Aguilar finally got back into action at UFC 211. But it wasn’t an ideal return. Cortney Casey looked like the sharper fighter from bell-to-bell as she won a unanimous decision in the featured Fight Pass bout on Saturday night.
The judges’ scores were 30-27 at Dallas’ American Airlines Center.
Aguilar dropped Casey early in the first, but Casey foreshadowed the rest of the fight by being active from the bottom, working for submissions and throwing kicks. Casey also landed solid and crisp combos in the standup. Aguilar responded to a late flurry by throwing a punch after the horn.
In the second, Casey landed an early knee. And while she ended up on the mat again, she put on an upkick clinic, landing kicks high and low, including one to the head which clearly stunned Aguilar.
“That was a little bit a part of the game plan, we knew she was going to wrestle a little bit, we just really wanted to stay active on our back,” Casey said.
It was all but academic over the final round, which was mainly conducted in the standup. The Arizona native threw with volume and precision and left Aguilar’s face busted open.
“She wanted a tuneup fight, I’m not much of a tuneup for anyone, so I hope she got what she wanted, Casey said.
Aguilar (19-6) dropped to 0-2 in the UFC, while Casey (7-4) won for the third time in her past four bouts.