Yana Kunitskaya had one tall task in her UFC debut back at UFC 222, as she stepped into the Octagon with the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history, Cris Cyborg, in an unsuccessful attempt to take the featherweight championship.
There’s no shame in losing to Cyborg, and on Saturday night, the St. Petersburg, Russia native had her chance to show what she could do. The former Invicta FC bantamweight champion was in charge pretty much from bell to bell in her featured Fight Pass bout with Lina Lansberg at UFC 229, taking a unanimous decision at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The judges’ scores were 30-27 across the board.
Kunitskaya set the tone early by using a throw and immediately transitioning into half-guard on the ground. Lansberg managed to get back to her feet, initiating a prolonged clinch exchange. But a second throw late, this time into side control, put the clamps back on Lansberg.
The second was mostly conducted in the standup, where Lansberg managed to dictate the pace and range. During a late sequence in the clinch, Lansberg managed a standing choke from an awkward position, but didn’t come close to threatening her foe.
In the third, Kunitskaya, who recently moved her training camp to Xtreme Couture, mixed up a little of everything, using kicks to maintain range, another takedown, and clinch dominance, to secure the win.
“You never know how a fight will go, so we were trying to prepare for every situation,” Kunitskaya.
Kunitskaya improved to 11-4 (1 NC) with her second win in her past three bouts. Lansberg (8-4) has now dropped two of her past three.