It was a close fight between strawweights Ashley Yoder and Miranda Granger heading into the third and final round in Las Vegas on November 14.
Then Yoder turned on the jets.
“Going into the third, I told myself it’s 1-1, I have to show them that I want to be here and just let it go, and that’s something I wanted to do in the first couple rounds, but it clicked in the third round,” she said. “I didn’t rush for any kind of submission, I just let it open up with punches. It felt really good, and that third round was probably one of my favorite rounds of all my fights that I’ve had.”
That third round clinched the unanimous decision victory for the Indiana native, and while it was one of her favorite rounds, it was also one of her best, a five-minute capsule of what Yoder can do when she’s on top of her game. And even though she didn’t get the complete fight she wanted, a win is a win, and she’ll take it.
“This was my first camp that I was working with a mental sports coach and from the time I weighed in until I stepped in the Octagon, I actually felt the best I’ve ever felt,” Yoder said. “In that first round, there was a little bit of a late start to get going, and that’s where the disappointment comes in. But even in the first and second round, I just seemed really overprotective on position once I got to the ground, not to put that round in jeopardy for whatever reason.”
If you want to call that being a little cautious and wanting to make sure she got the points she needed to win on the scorecards, she will likely plead guilty, and with good reason, as she went into the bout on the heels of back-to-back losses to Randa Markos and Livinha Souza. Three straight wouldn’t be a good look, as she’s been there before, but as 2020 turns into 2021, those are questions she won’t have to answer after picking up her third Octagon win.