22-year-old BJJ black belt Erin Blanchfield took home the win in her first UFC fight.
Blanchfield, who won EBI 12 as a purple belt, took on Sarah Alpar in the fight, which took place during the prelims of UFC Vegas 37.
Alpar began the fight by charging forward with a series of strikes, though Blanchfield was able to avoid most of the potential damage. Alpar closed the distance, giving Blanchfield the opportunity to throw a knee before they separated again. Blanchfield used a kick to help her drive Alpar back toward the fence, and though Alpar kept swinging, Blanchfield’s strikes were hitting their mark, with not much room for Alpar to make an escape. Alpar went for a takedown, landing a few punches to the body when Blanchfield kept the fight on the feet. The fighters clinched up, and Blanchfield drove her opponent’s back to the cage, throwing in an elbow to the face for good measure. Blanchfield continued to put her striking skills on display, landing a few solid punches to Alpar’s head and then a body kick as the athletes moved away from the fence. As she went to close the distance on Alpar again, she walked into a punch that sent her back. She managed to dodge Alpar’s next punch, catching a few others with her face as she again pressured her opponent back to the fence. From the clinch, Blanchfield threw more knees and defended a reversal attempt from Alpar. With a little over two minutes left in round one, Blanchfield successfully tripped Alpar to bring her to the ground. She transitioned from side control to mount, raining down punches on Alpar. She nearly managed to take the pack, but Alpar recovered and took half-guard. Blanchfield continued her ground-and-pound dominance until the final few seconds of the round, landing some kicks to Alpar’s legs before the bell rang.
Round two saw more of the same aggression from Blanchfield, who opened things up with a kick to the head before connecting with a solid jab that hit its mark. Alpar stayed alert and assertive even as she inched back toward the cage, her punches still dangerous and numerous. Though Alpar tried to keep Blanchfield at a safe distance, the latter fighter kept pushing forward, connecting with a few combos before managing to clinch up with Alpar against the cage once again. Blanchfield took Alpar to the canvas again, getting in one hook and throwing knees to the body with her other leg as Alpar tried to defend herself. Though their position against the fence made it tough for both athletes to move into a position they wanted, Blanchfield still capitalized on her control by throwing punches to the head of her opponent. With under a minute and a half left in the round, Blanchfield finally managed to get Alpar on her back, trying to pass from half-guard and finishing up the round with ground-and-pound.
Despite taking heavy punishment in the earlier rounds, Alpar still went all-out in round three, exchanging back-and-forth combos with Blanchfield to kick things off. Blanchfield, however, was relentless, battering her opponent back to the fence once again. She clinched up with Alpar against the fence a minute in, throwing more knees to the body and only separating after a powerful elbow to her opponent’s head. More back-and-forth from the fighters, and then Blanchfield shot for and landed a takedown, soon passing Alpar’s half-guard into side control. As Blanchfield came around, Alpar got to her knees and turtled up before getting her back to the cage and forcing Blanchfield to readjust. Blanchfield flattened Alpar out again and rained down more punches. In the final thirty seconds of the fight, Blanchfield passed to side control, then mount, then back mount, and the last round finished with her relentlessly punching Alpar until the bell rang.
Blanchfield was declared the winner by unanimous decision.