UFC Fight Night 69 Fight Breakdown: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Penne

Joanna-Jedrzejczyk The main event of UFC Fight Night 69 is a five-round title fight between UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Penne. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Jedrzejczyk is a -700 favorite (bet $700 to win $100) while Penne is a +500 underdog (bet $100 to win $500). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Jedrzejczyk at -855 and Penne at +485, and the champion remains a huge favorite with the fight just a few days away. I agree that Jedrzeczyk is the clear favorite in this fight and I am picking her to get her hand raised. Here’s why. Jedrzejczyk (9-0) is the UFC women’s strawweight champion. The 27-year-old Pole is 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, and Juliana Lima. She comes from a muay Thai background and is a devastating striker on the feet, possessing rare knockout power for a woman of her size. She is coming off of a knockout win over Esparza to claim the title, she knocked down Gadelha, and she knocked out Rosi Sexton in one of her pre-UFC bouts. She is one of the most technical strikers in all of women’s MMA, and a dangerous threat for anyone who stands in front of her. However, while she is known for her striking she is also developing her wrestling game. So far she hasn’t looked to take her opponents down, but she’s developing very nice takedown defence with a nice sprawl, making it nearly impossible for her opponents to get her down, and even when they do she’s hard to hold down on the mat. At this point, she looks to be unstoppable at 115lbs, and going up against a grappling-based fighter like Penne who is limited on the feet, it’s not shocking she’s a big favorite entering this fight. Penne (12-2) was a competitor on TUF 20, defeating Aisling Daly and Lisa Ellis on the show before losing to Esparza in the semifinals. The 32-year-old American earned a shot in the UFC anyways, and defeated Randa Markos in her debut in a Fight of the Night-winning performance. A grappler by trade, Penne has seven career submission wins and is very dangerous on the ground if she can get it there. She is very crafty on the mat and is hard to deal with as she wins the majority of scrambles. She also has underrated wrestling and some nice judo throws which help her get her fights to the mat. On the feet she is a novice striker, but she is constantly improving that part of her game. She’s clearly one of the best female strawweights in MMA, but that being said, going up against Jedrzejczyk could a very difficult — and dangerous — matchup for her if she can’t get the fight to the mat. If she can land takedowns she will have a chance to get a submission, but if this fight stays standing, which is most likely will, she’s going to get picked apart by a superior striker in Jedrzejczyk, and with most bettors thinking that’s what’s going to happen you see Penne enter this fight as a huge underdog despite having more experience in MMA than the champ. It’s hard not to like Jedrzejczyk. She’s been very impressive in the UFC so far and keeps getting better each and every fight. My brain is telling me she stuffs Penne’s takedown attempts and batters her on the feet for either a T/KO win or a dominant decision. And clearly other bettors are in the same boat as the line on Jedrzejczyk is extremely high at 7-to-1. But while I do think Jedrzejczyk wins, I don’t see value in the line. Penne is the better grappler and submission artist and if she can get this fight to the ground she’ll have an outside shot of winning. I don’t expect that to happen, but then again it’s women’s MMA, and a lot of upsets happen when the ladies scrap. I can’t back Penne here because I think she’s going to lose, but I just don’t see any value laying 7-to-1 on Jedrzejczyk, so for me this one is a pass altogether, although I fully expect the champ to retain her title.

Written by Adam Martin.

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