Julie Kedzie (16-12, 0-1 UFC) vs. Bethe Correia (6-0 UFC)
With visa issues forcing a late postponement of a bout between Alex Caceres and Mitch Gagnon, it is the women who get the late bump to the main card as Julie Kedzie looks to end a losing streak as she welcomes Bethe Correia to the UFC. Kedzie will be looking to snap a three-fight losing streak as she steps inside the Octagon for the second time. She dropped a split decision to Germaine de Randamie at UFC On FOX 8 in July. She is just 4-4 over her last eight fights. Correia makes her UFC debut as an injury replacement for Kedzie’s original opponent, Aleksandra Albu. Correia is undefeated in her career having won all six of her fights, and she enters off a decision win over Erica Paes in June.
Fight Breakdown- Kedzie is one of the pioneers in women’s MMA having made her professional debut way back in March 2004. She has fought 28 times in her career, but there have been a lot of ups-and-downs for her. She has just 16 wins and 12 losses, and with having lost three fights in a row, she may be looking at fighting for her job when she steps into the Octagon this weekend. Kedzie has fought a lot of the more well-known female fighters in the sport, but it wasn’t until a stretch from July 2009 to April 2011 where she went 4-1 that got her on the Zuffa radar for Strikeforce. Kedzie was signed to Strikeforce and debuted there in July 2011 against Alexis Davis. Davis defeated Kedzie by unanimous decision. After a year off, Kedzie returned against Miesha Tate in August 2012, and what was witnessed was one of the best fights of 2012. Kedzie came close to finishing Tate before being submitted with an armbar by Tate in the third round. It was enough to get her moved over to the UFC, but she dropped her first UFC bout to de Randamie in July, and now she looks to end the losing skid.
Correia is debuting on the heels of six straight wins to start her professional career, and she has only been fighting for 18 months, so she gives up a lot of experience to Kedzie. Correia has been fighting exclusively in Brazil, where she lives and trains with the Pitbull Freire brothers. She is improving her skillset and hasn’t shown much in the way of finishing power throughout her short career as five of her six wins have come by going the distance. She has decent striking but really likes to take fights to the ground and implement a grinding style that wears down her opponents. She has good jiu-jitsu with a blue belt in that area, and she has some solid ground-and-pound. All of her decision wins have been of the unanimous varitey, so while she hasn’t been much of a finisher, she dominates her wins. She has fought three times in 2013, including twice in June during a span of 28 days, and while she gets the injury replacement notice, she will come into the fight rested and prepared.
Kedzie will need to rely on her vast experience edge to win the fight. Kedzie knows she is in a must-win fight and will need to fight like it. She was dominated in the clinch by de Randamie, but that was due to being way smaller than her opponent. With Correia, Kedzie fights someone more of her own size, and that is where the mental tenacity she has will come into play. Kedzie is better on the feet and knows how to control the fight in the cage, and she should have a solid gameplan coming from her head coach, Greg Jackson. Kedzie may switch it up and take the fight to the ground, and may look to lean on her Taekwondo background to help her get the edge in the fight. Correia is a patient fighter with a good ground game, and she will need to threaten with submission attempts and transitions to dominant positions on the ground if she is going to get her ground-and-pound going. Kedzie knows she has a lot to lose, though, and that will be a big motivating factor for her to not only play it safe, but do things to insure she gets the win. Kedzie takes this as it goes to the judges.
Why It Matters- This could be the last chance Kedzie has in the sport fighting on a big stage if she were to lose, so she knows a win will get her more opportunities in the UFC. She is a smart and experienced veteran, and a potential career in broadcasting could await her. She isn’t ready to make that move, though, and wins are what she needs to keep her fight career moving. Ending a three-fight losing skid would make a win even more sweeter. Correia is going to have lots of opportunities in her career, and she should be a big part of a growing women’s division in the UFC. This is a tough test for her in her debut, but kudos to her for showing that she is willing to take fights on late notice. We will be seeing her again, and she would love to keep her undefeated record intact.
Tags: Julie Kedzie, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, UFC Fight Night 33, UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot