Receiving praise from Dana White isn’t easy (just ask Tyron Woodley), but Polyana Viana’s debut was impressive enough to warrant a response from the UFC’s president.
Viana, who entered UFC Fight Night 125 in Belém, Brazil, after five consecutive first-round victories and a 9-1 professional record, dominated the contest from start to finish. The Brazilian used her jiu-jitsu prowess to control Maia Stevenson before eventually submitting her with a rear-naked choke 3:50 into the first round.
The fight started with an early takedown for Viana, but it would only last briefly. Once the two fighters stood back to their feet, it was Stevenson who fell into the guard of Polyana, who then snatched at the arm of her opponent. Despite not being in an ideal position to do so, Viana maintained control while attempting an armbar. The battle for Stevenson’s arm continued for over a minute and Viana had her best opportunity to finish the submission when Stevenson front-rolled and landed on her back.
However, Stevenson easily escaped the position because Viana had not secured proper control of her opponent’s hips. Viana had left her leg inside the legs of Stevenson and this enabled Stevenson to rise. Despite the control being impressive to gain the position, the execution was disappointing.
What was most impressive in this contest was how easily Viana controlled Stevenson in all positions. In a standing clinch, Viana was breaking Stevenson’s posture and putting weight on her head and shoulders. She eventually snapped Stevenson down for a guillotine but quickly lost the submission and ended up in half guard.
It was from the half guard position that Viana did some of her best work, though. She applied heavy pressure while switching between striking and controlling the arms of Stevenson. The ground and pound allowed Viana enough time to push down on the knee and slide through to full mount, but Stevenson quickly gave up her back. From here, taking the rear-naked choke was about as simple as it gets and Viana finished the fight after just 3:50.
It was an excellent debut performance from the young Brazilian who now moves to 10-1 as a mixed martial artist.
Jake is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief, based in Tasmania, Australia.