Perhaps the best bout of the evening on paper, United States wrestling standout Jackie Cataline takes on 20 year old phenom Evelyn Martins in a Women's Featherweight clash. Cataline is set to become the first fighter to ever compete four times on the PFL Challenger Series after two fights last year and another two this year. She is 2-1 with two finishes on the Challenger Series so far as she looks to finally win a contract that has eluded her. Martins returns to the Challenger Series following a submission win over Jeslen Mishelle earlier this year that improved her perfect record to 3-0.
The fighters touch gloves and we’re underway as Cataline wastes no time landing a heavy one two combo. Martins looks for a low kick, chopping at the lead leg but Cataline punishes her for it by landing a nice left hook on the exit. Cataline is having a lot of success with the straight right early, landing it again before circling out and landing a big left hook right behind the ear of Martins.
Martins is sticking with the game plan and chopping at the legs of Cataline but Cataline flips the script, landing a big straight right of her own that causes Martins to drop to the mat briefly before getting back to her feet. This might become a war of attrition early as both women are showing damage on the lead leg and landing big punches in the pocket.
Again Cataline goes to the three-two combo, firing the straight right like a piston and Martins continues to have no answer other than low kicks. Now Martins lands a nice three-two combo of her own before resetting and getting clipped with an overhand right from Cataline. Neither woman will let the other get going as now Martins lands a calf kick that forces Cataline to hobble.
Cataline may be realizing she doesn’t have long left with the damage to her calf and is throwing BOMBS as Martins lands another big calf kick that stops Cataline in her tracks before Cataline shoots and Martins successfully sprawls. They reset and now Martins fakes the low kick and lands a front kick up the middle, but Cataline lands another big straight right to end a frantic round!
Round 2 is underway and instantly Martins goes right back to the well and drops Cataline with a low kick right off the bat! Martins makes a poor choice and chases Cataline to the mat, grappling for a bit before choosing to stand once more.
Oh! Cataline lands a heavy right hand that briefly drops Martins and Cataline locks up a front headlock and gets heavy on top. Cataline is still landing some power punches despite the damage to her leg, and Martins is showing some questionable IQ in not continuing to attack that lead leg.
Halfway through the round Martins misses a low kick but lands a nice right hook as Cataline’s movement is severely compromised at this point. Cataline shoots but it’s slow and telegraphed and Martins is wise to it, getting heavy on a front headlock before breaking the clinch and landing a nice roundhouse to the body. Cataline lands a nice hook and now Martins goes upstairs with the kick! Cataline is tough as nails and just eats the kick and continues throwing punches.
Cataline lands another left but Martins has an answer for all of it now, peppering kicks and short hooks. Cataline is somehow still swinging and coming forward and she’ll survive to see a third round.
The fighters touch gloves as we begin our final stanza. Martins doubles up on the jab and is clearly the fresher fighter this point but there is zero quit in Cataline as she continues to come forward behind that big straight right hand.
Martins swings for the fences with an overhand right that just misses as Cataline lands a nice step in lead hook as they reset. Martins lands a nice double jab followed by a straight right but she’s not throwing nearly as many low kicks as she should be.
As if on cue, Cataline lands another nice straight right hand and Martins throws another low kick. While Martins has been effective, you’d like to see a little more killer instinct from a fighter who knows their opponent is severely compromised.
They continue to exchange smaller strikes as neither woman seems able to pull away in this final round and Cataline continues to throw power shots. As we near the end of the fight Cataline likely needs to make something happen to pull out a win here, and both women are swinging HARD! Both land some big shots in the final exchange as we await the judge’s decision.
Evelyn Martins beats an incredibly tough opponent to improve to 4-0 at just 20 years old.
Evelyn Martins def. Jackie Cataline via UD (29-28 3x)