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The Ultimate Fighter 28 Recap: Team Gastelum Jumps Out to a Lead

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The second episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters featured the first female featherweight bout of the season between Team Gastelum’s Pannie Kianzad and Team Whittaker’s Katharina Lehner.

The Fight: Pannie Kianzad (10-3) vs. Katharina Lehner (7-1)

Both fighters are Invicta FC veterans with similar styles. They both come forward and prefer to strike.  They met in the center of the cage and wasted no time letting their hands go.  Lehner’s right hand was finding a home in the early going of the opening frame.  Kianzad established her jab and began landing combinations midway through the round.  She initiated the clinch and and delivered knees to the body and legs of Lehner.  Late in the frame, Kianzad changed levels and secured a takedown. 

Kianzad landed her jab to start the second round and quickly took Lehner down.  She peppered Lehner with short left hands.  Lehner worked her way to the cage and used the fence to get back to her feet but Kianzad kept the pressure on in the clinch.  They traded knees to the body before Kianzad gained top position during a scramble.  Kianzad spend the remaining two minutes of the round delivering short right hands and elbows while controlling Lehner on the ground.  In the closing seconds, Kianzad mounted Lehner, but was reversed.  It was too little too late for Lehner.  The judges scored the fight for Kianzad by unanimous decision. 

“Pannie was really emotional and I kind of caught myself being a little emotional as well. The plan was just for Pannie to be Pannie. She is really good everywhere, she has really good footwork so we kind of just wanted her to have a Mike Tyson style game plan. Where she goes in, she is the aggressor, she is moving her head and we had her come in, move her head and use her combinations like she knows she can. She actually got a couple take downs which I didn’t expect her to do but I am glad she did and she winning the fight by unanimous decision and fought a perfect fight,” said Coach Gastelum after his second team win.

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“I knew I was going to fight a much stronger and heavier opponent, so I just keep my distance, keep on my feet and whenever I feel like taking her down I would. After I use my faints and my kicks I would do so. It worked out well. I am really happy with my performance. It is exactly what I was planning on doing before I came in. I love my team. I feel like it is really weird how close the whole team is after a week. It feels like we have been training together for years and years. They don’t want to change how you fight, they just want to polish it and make you do what you are good at and that makes me really happy,” said Kianzad following the win.

“For the fight against Pannie I had about five training days with team Whittaker so I told them what kind of fighter I am and what my plan is because I know Pannie pretty good because she called me out a few times. We both fight Invicta, so my game plan was striking with her, take down defense and so we worked on these things. Nothing hard in the last week only technical drills. Every fight is a 50/50 shot. You can win, you can lose. I am super happy that it happened here in the house. The fight doesn’t count to my pro-record. Every fight is good experience if you lose or win. I will train with the best girls in the world, high-level girls. I will take two days off then on Monday I will be back here with team Whittaker,” said Lehner after the loss.

Next Fight Announcement 

For the second heavyweight bout of the season, Coach Whittaker selected Anderson da Silva to take on Team Gastelum’s Justin Frazier.  

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