UFC is hosting a card at Madison Square Garden for the first time in history after as 20-year ban on the sport in the state was lifted. The first title defense in UFC history at the iconic venue, which has hosted some of the biggest fights in combat sports history, was in a women's division.
Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk promised to defeat Karolina Kowalkiewicz at the pre-fight press conference and continue her reign, and then delivered on that vow, defending her title in a unanimous decision, scored 49-46 on all three cards.
It is Jedrzejczyk's fourth title successful title defense, the second longest streak in the UFC behind Flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson's eight straight wins. No other UFC belt holder has defended their title more than one time, a fact that demonstrates how hard it is to hold on to a title. Jedrzejczyk inched closer to Ronda Rousey's six title defenses under the UFC banner, a women's division record.
Jedrzejczyk also moves into a position where she is beginning to clean out the list of potential challengers, having defeated the three top-ranked challengers. Fourth-ranked Rose Namajunas lost her last fight against Kowalkiewicz, which might make fifth-ranked Jessica Andrade the favorite for the next shot at the title and Jedrzejczyk.