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UFC Sao Paulo results: Randa Markos, Marina Rodriguez duel to majority draw

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

When Randa Markos can implement her strong clinch game and use it to set up her equally strong wrestling, she tends to get her arm raised at the end of the fight.

When she doesn’t, her opponent usually leaves the victor.

But what happens if they split the difference? Such was the case Saturday night in the main-card opener of UFC Sao Paulo, as Markos and Marina Rodriguez battled to a majority draw. The judges’ cards in the strawweight matchup were 29-28 Markos and a pair of 28-28s.

The opening round was all Markos, as she threw Rodriguez to the mat, transitioned into side control, then postured into top position, where she remained for most of the rest of the round, dishing out enough punishments to earn a 10-8 score on two cards.

In the second, though, it was apparent Rodriguez, who was making her official UFC debut after earning a contract on Contender Series, had weathered the storm, and started to land with her strikes, most notably a series of standing elbows that connected hard in the closing seconds of the round.

The final round was a mishmash of the two, with Markos scoring a takedown about 90 seconds in and controlling Rodriguez for the better part of two minutes. But Rodriguez resumed control once they got back to the feet and really poured it on with her strikes, mixing elbows and kicks and landing a Superwoman punch for good measure.

For Markos, the draw put her at 8-6-1 and snapped 12-fight stretch in which she alternated wins and losses. Rodriguez remains unbeaten at 10-0-1.