Set for the main card of UFC Fight Night 196, Australian Jessica-Rose Clark will take on Panama’s Joselyn Edwards in a bantamweight war. Coming off of an impressive win over Sarah Alper, Clark will be entering the octagon looking to put herself back on a win streak after suffering two defeats prior to her latest bout.
In front of her, however, is one of the most dangerous prospects in the division. With a record of 10-3, Joselyn Edwards represents a powerhouse of a puncher with a reach advantage over most women at 135 pounds. While she is newer to the big leagues than Clark, Edwards will be coming into the bout with a vengeance coming off of her first loss in the UFC.
Clark vs. Edwards Betting Odds
Joselyn Edwards will be coming in attempting to make good of the underdog story. A bet of $100 on the Panamanian will return a profit of $120.
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Clark vs. Edwards Breakdown
Jessica-Rose Clark is genuinely one of the most well-rounded and impressive fighters in the women’s bantamweight division. She has wicked kickboxing and great grappling skills and has demonstrated an ability to dominate a fight in any facet. She stands orthodox most of the time, has a strong right body kick and tricky left hooks that she ends her combinations with. However, her biggest strength is probably her knees and elbows both in and out of the clinch.
Many opponents have come into fighting Clark with the idea that they should take her down, logical but dangerous and Clark is known for her ability to punch her opponents while simultaneously defending the shot. Her elbows and knees with her back against the fence are generated with excellent power and if she can reverse the position her top game is powerful.
The main criticism of Clark in past performances is moreso a strategic one rather than technical. Often there will be a clear route to victory for her but she finds difficulty in committing to the game plan over a full 15 minutes. While her skills have seen her slip the script such as out grappling Paige Van Zant, who planned to do so to Clark, or out-wrestling wrestler, Sarah Alpar. When she is able to win out in her opponent’s preferred realm of combat it makes the victory that much more impressive, however, it can also be considered an unnecessary risk, which at other times has not paid off, such as exchanging in the boxing range against Pannie Kianzad. It has also cost her moments and even rounds in fights she probably should have dominated had she gone past the least resistance.
Joselyne Edwards is a very patient and dangerous fighter and will enjoy a size and reach advantage over Clark this weekend. Edwards is a boxing-based fighter who uses her reach well and knows she can change the tide of the fight with her heavy hands and she throws as such.
She has a very patient pace in all aspects but carefully chooses when to let loose. For the most part expect her to use short steps, kind of walk into range almost casually with a high guard but burst into wide combinations when she senses the right opening. Her kicks are also mostly used to prod and range find so that she can land her hands in a flurry.
Her patience is also reflected in her ground game, off her back typically she has less to offer in terms of offense and her ability to counter-position is usually by waiting for a lapse in concentration, a mistake, or a moment of shifting balance on which she can capitalize. The double-edged sword here is that if that moment does not present itself she is left in a non-dominant position as the clock ticks on her, but because she isn’t constantly forcing her way to a sweep or submission her gas tank typically holds up as she stays relaxed.
One more major factor in this matchup is Edward’s susceptibility to low kicks, because she is not only boxing driven but power driven she puts a lot of weight on her front leg when she swings. Against an educated kickboxing game like Clark’s this will be a hole in her game that she needs to have been aware of and adapted to in camp if she doesn’t want to be exploited.
Clark vs. Edwards Prediction
Ultimately, I think that Jessica-Rose Clark should win this fight. She has all the tools to do so, and if she mixes it up and truly makes it a mixed martial arts contest she can keep Edward’s reaction to her and probably win out everywhere. The problem is, Clark has a habit of testing herself in areas she shouldn’t necessarily be against the wrong people, and trading at range is not a game she, as the smaller fighter, should want to play with Joselyne Edwards.
However, I think that with more tools, as long as Clark can stay composed for the majority of the fight she can get ahead on the scorecards in impressive fashion.
Prediction: Jessica-Rose Clark to win via decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.