ORLANDO, Fla.—Poland’s Karolina Kowalkiewicz upset Canadian strawweight Randa (Quiet Storm) Markos with a unanimous decision win on the main card of a UFC Fight Night card Saturday night.
Kowalkiewicz (8-0-0) won the striking battle while Markos (5-4-0) had the advantage early when the fight went to the ground. The judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 for the emotional Polish fighter, who fell to her knees after the scores were announced.
Markos, from Windsor, Ont., is ranked seventh among 115-pound contenders. Kowalkiewicz was making her UFC debut.
On the undercard, Valentina (Bullet) Shevchenko won a split decision over Victoria bantamweight Sarah Kaufman. The judges scored it for 28-29. 29-28, 29-28 for the UFC debutante, a native of Kyrgyzstan who trains out of Lima, Peru.
The main event at the Amway Center featured lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos against No. 2 contender Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone.
Markos, who trains out of Montreal’s Tristar Gym, controlled the Pole at the fence for part of a first round that ended with a good striking exchange.
Markos got Kowalkiewicz to the ground in the second and remained glued to her back in a body triangle when the Polish fighter got to her feet. Kowalkiewicz tried to shake her off but ended up on the ground with Markos in back control.
Kowalkiewicz caught Markos with a spinning back fist midway through the third round. Markos survived and drove Kowalkiewicz to the fence. Markos landed a takedown, only to be immediately reversed. Kowalkiewicz moved into mount position, punishing the Canadian from above.
Shevchenko (12-1-0) used an effective clinch game to smother Kaufman in the first two rounds. The Canadian, a former Strikeforce champion ranked fifth among UFC bantamweight contenders, took Shevchenko down midway through the third round but it was too little too late.
Shevchenko had taken the Canadian down three times previously.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be won just by striking, so I had to figure out something clever in the fight,” she said. “My coach put in my mind—if I can win the standup game, that was good, but to win at grappling would be better.”
Kaufman said Shevchenko deserved the win.
“I didn’t do enough early on,” she said. “It’s my own fault and I’m definitely frustrated. I had a great camp and I had a lot to show. I just couldn’t do it tonight.”
Shevchenko took the 135-pound fight on eight days notice, replacing the injured Germaine de Randamie.
It was the fifth straight win for Shevchenko, a former Muay Thai and K1 world champion.
Kaufman (17-4-0 with one no contest) was coming off an April loss to fellow Canadian Alexis Davis. She is 1-2-0 with one no contest in the UFC.