Marina Rodriguez made the biggest statement of her UFC career on the biggest stage possible.
Facing off with highly touted strawweight contender Amanda Ribas to kick off the UFC 257 pay-per-view, Rodriguez survived a grappling exchange in the first round to then deliver a blistering series of strikes to earn a TKO finish in the second. A right hand from Rodriguez blasted Ribas to send her to the ground and the assault didn’t stop until referee Herb Dean called off the fight.
The official end time came at :54 seconds into round two
“I was aware of her game,” Rodriguez said after her third win in the UFC. “She’s a complete fighter. We’re able to take our game plan into action in the second round.
“I definitely think this win gets me into the top five. I’ll face any of those girls. Hey guys, now you know who I am.”
In a battle of Brazilians, it was Ribas who set the tone in the opening round with a well-timed takedown that put Rodriguez on her back playing defense. Ribas was very active on top, peppering away with strikes and even applying a can opener in order to open Rodriguez’s guard.
Rodriguez maintained her position in order to avoid Ribas getting through her defense but the momentum shifted dramatically at the start of round two.
Inviting Ribas to trade hands with her, Rodriguez showed off some sharp boxing by stepping to the side during a combination before unleashing a right hand that eventually led to the finish. After Rodriguez collapsed Ribas to the round, she followed up with a few more shots and it appeared Dean was stepping into stop the contest.
A replay showed the referee got close but he never actually waived off the action so Rodriguez was forced to restart after initially thinking the fight was over. While Ribas managed to get back to her feet, she continued to eat punches and another right hand left her dazed and confused.
That’s when Dean finally saw enough to stop the carnage as Rodriguez celebrated the win while also bouncing back from a split decision loss in her last outing to former champion Carla Esparza.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Ribas heading into Saturday night and Rodriguez just proved that she shouldn’t be discounted as she continues her climb up the strawweight ranks.