With Ketlen Vieira determined to dominate on the ground, Kunitskaya was constantly looking for reversals while pouring on the punishment whenever she was on top. A late barrage with elbows that sliced open the Brazilian helped Kunitskaya sway the judges as she earned the victory with all three scorecards reading 29-28 in her favor.
“To be honest, I wasn’t so confident,” Kunitskaya said about the decision. “I wasn’t sure because some positions she was dominant. I didn’t know how it would be in the judges’ eyes. I was a little bit nervous I feel I did a good job.”
There was no hiding Vieira’s game plan as the Brazilian just bull-rushed ahead and worked to take Kunitskaya down to the ground. While she was successful initially, Kunitskaya was able to scramble off the mat and work back to her feet where she was obviously more comfortable.
An ill-fated knee strike from Kunitskaya allowed Vieira to bring the fight back down to the ground but time ran out before she could do a lot of damage from the top despite working hard to advance her position.
A reverse of fortune at the start of the second round allowed Kunitskaya to actually land on top of Vieira but she had to be careful while fending off a constant barrage of submission attempts. That said, Kunitskaya was settling into a rhythm while staying on top of Vieira and peppering away with punches.
Knowing the fight was likely even after two rounds, Vieira and Kunitskaya wanted to leave nothing to chance with both bantamweights trying to secure the victory. For Vieira that meant securing a takedown and looking to attack with her grappling, which worked initially until Kunitskaya managed to earn a reversal.
With time running out, Kunitskaya began blasting away with elbows including one particularly nasty shot that opened a huge cut on Vieira’s head that likely helped her earn the win.
Kunitskaya is 4-1 in her past five fights with back-to-back wins and she’s now taken out another top 10 ranked opponent in Vieira.