I was thrilled when the Invicta FC 8 date was announced, but I was especially excited to be able to support some the Asian American women that were on the card, among them the headliner Waterson and the newly Invicta-signed Jinh Yu Frey. This whole event was really great, and such a deal with the UFC Fight Pass.
It was cool to see that Frey would be fighting Jodie Esquibel, who is actually coming out of Jackson’s MMA, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jackson’s is not just one of the top MMA gyms in the world, it is also currently one of the meccas of women’s MMA, with the likes of Michelle Waterson, Julie Kedzie, and Holly Holm. I had high expectations for both fighters and really looked forward to a great fight.
The fight was definitely exciting, and I enjoyed the chance to really see both women in action in a full fight. The two of them looked absolutely gorgeous, and by gorgeous, I mean their arms look like chiseled works of art.
To cut to the chase, Esquibel won the bout by a split decision between the judges, and not being too perceptive, I just wrung my hands, happy for Esquibel but disappointed for Frey. However, a comment from a fellow MMA fan made me think that the split decision may not have been a well-called one. Split decisions are always tricky and controversial, and the fight was definitely a close call, but I really started questioning the results and am now leaning toward the verdict that Frey probably should have won that one. Here’s why.
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I’m not exactly a skilled point keeper when it comes to combat sports, any of them. I know a little more than the average person, enough to appreciate some skill displayed and enjoy watching bouts. I’ll give my amateur run-down, but I’m going to preface it with “I’m not a professional” and of course, I’d recommend everyone watch it for themselves and am interested in other opinions and analysis.
Unfortunately, the fight isn’t available on Youtube, and only UFC Fight Pass folks can watch it. However, I hope the images available from Sherdog can provide some visuals for those who don’t have UFC Fight Pass.
The first round started out with the two of them getting a feel for each other, not really landing anything heavy, but a lot of moving around and figuring out their ranges. After a few shots here and there, Frey lands a solid knee which actually KNOCKS DOWN Esquibel. Then it went to the ground, and for a while there, Frey had Esquibel tangled up, switching from one triangle choke attempt to another. In the end of the round, Frey just didn’t have enough holding power to pull off a submission, and Esquibel impressively does a turn around and gets in some ground and pound punches as the bell rings, ending the round. Although, Esquibel turned it around, that down Frey pulled off solidly won her this round.
The second round stayed off the ground, with both Esquibel and Frey exchanging punches and kicks the whole time. Although Esquibel had a nice kick landed at the end, in the striking exchanges for the majority of the round, it looked like Frey was the one who landed most of her punches, especially with those deadly hook combos and counter hooks. Also, Frey controlled like 80% of that round, so all and all, this round looked like it went to Frey too. Even matchmaker and commentator Julie Kedzie noted that she had Esquibel down two rounds at this point.
In the third round, Esquibel jumps in with more urgency, and throughout this round, her confidence and comfort builds as Frey seemed more hesitant to go on the offensive. This round stayed standing too, and with about a minute left, Esquibel cuts Frey under the right eye, and the rest of the round is pretty much Esquibel assaulting Frey, and Frey trying to get back into her groove but never quite getting there. Esquibel finishes strong, and Frey is left with some nasty cuts on her face and a bump atop her head. Definitely Esquibel’s round here.
If you didn’t watch the fight and you just looked at Frey’s bloodied face versus Esquibel’s, you’d think that Esquibel was the clear winner of that one. However, these fights aren’t supposed to be won by how much blood is drawn and how beat up you look. It’s based on points. So if we go back to the numbers, Frey won both the first and second round, and she even got a DOWN on Esquibel in the first round, while Esquibel only won the last round. I know I’m an amateur MMA spectator, but it seems pretty clear to me that 2 ROUDS + 1 DOWN > 1 ROUND, making Frey the decision winner.
I wanna say the Frey played that whole fight a little too safe and that although she’s got some punch power, her ground game probably needs more work. I love her hooks though. Mine really suck, so I was taking a few notes on hers.
Esquibel started off a little too timid, but she finally got in her groove that third round. If the fight had gone on longer, to a fourth or fifth round, I would’ve predicted a clean Esquibel win.
Hopefully, we can see a rematch between these two atomweights in the future, because the results of this rather exciting fight were also rather unsatisfactory.