Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight stalwart Marion Reneau, whose day job is being a PE teacher at Farmersville High School, faced off against late-notice replacement, promotional newcomer and fellow Brazilain Jiu Jitsu black belt Talita Bernardo. The fight was broadcast today (Saturday, September 2, 2017) on UFC Fight Pass from inside Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Reneau came out in the black, Bernardo in the white. Bernardo shot in on a leg kick attempt and took down Reneau into full guard. She postured up to land ground and pound, narrowly avoiding an upkick. She stood again, and this time Reneau caught her with a sweep. When Reneau tried to take top position, Bernardo went for a heel hook, forcing Reneau to give up top position again to defend. Reneau then almost caught Bernardo in a triangle/armbar sequence, but Bernardo fought out of it and passed the guard. She had Reneau in north-south control, laying heavy on top. She circled to the back, and Reneau escaped to the safe side, getting Bernardo back in her guard. Bernardo had trouble landing much from top position, but she had certainly won the round with her control.
Reneau came out stalking, moving forward, while Bernardo jabbed and leg kicked to keep the distance. Reneau caught her with an overhand right, snapping her head back. Bernardo changed levels on a punching combination, but couldn’t complete the takedown, ending up on her back baiting the guard. Reneau didn’t take the bait, beckoning her back to her feet. Reneau landed another straight right, then a left hook to the body. Bernardo, on short notice, was looking fatigued. Reneau kept a jab in her face. Bernardo bailed on another abortive takedown attempt with another guard pull, and Reneau beckoned her to the feet again. Out of nowhere, she hit a successful takedown, putting Reneau flat on her back. Not for long though, as Reneau used a guillotine attempt to power back to her feet. They clinched, with Reneau pushing Bernardo against the fence with head pressure, landing hard hooks and elbows inside. Bernardo was standing upright against the cage, trying to use teeps to keep distance, but Reneau nailed her with a hard straight before the round ended.
Reneau came out aggressive, knowing Bernardo was still exhausted. She pressured into the clinch, but Bernardo tripped her onto the mat. She opened a cut with an elbow. Reneau attempted a triangle, but Bernardo stepped over to defend. Reneau stuck with it, but Bernardo’s top pressure eventually cracked the triangle open. She stood all the way up, but Reneau wasn’t able to stand. Reneau stood up again, using the guillotine to get her hips out from under Bernardo, then spun to the back. She got top control, then repeated the same move again to take Bernardo’s back. She cranked on a rear-naked choke attempt, which Bernardo toughed her way out of. Reneau, with hooks in from top position, hammered away at an increasingly exhausted Bernardo. Bernardo rolled, but Reneau stayed with it, and with less than ten seconds to go, the ref had seen enough. Late, great finish for Reneau, who lost the first round but used her better conditioning to step up the pressure and eventually get a finish.
In the post-fight interview, Reneau says that 40 is the new 20, as she is 40 this year. She said that Bernardo is an amazing grappler, but she trains with the best. She said that she could hear her corner saying not to stop the ground-and-pound, even though she wanted to, so she kept it up and got the finish.
Official Result: Marion Reneau def. Talita Bernardo by technical knockout at 4:54 of round three
See full UFC Fight Night 115 results, including play-by-play updates, here.