Keeping the action moving, “The Shanimal” Shanna Young takes on Sandra Lavado in our most experienced match-up of the evening. Young started her career with four straight wins but was unable to build on that momentum after two labral tears, though she eventually made the UFC and went 1-3 with the promotion. Lavado meanwhile is a Contender Series veteran and while she did not win a contract, she still calls it one of the most valuable experiences of her career. This bout could very well produce a contract winner, though it should be noted Lavado missed weight.
This bout begins with both women prepared to exchange as they stand in the center of the SmartCage and trade bombs with Young getting the better of most of the exchanges. Young throws and misses a high kick and eats a check left hook for her troubles, but Lavado seems to be having a bit of trouble closing the distance on Young.
Young seems to be controlling the pace and the distance so far, dictating where and when these exchanges are taking place. While Lavado has had some success with counters, she’ll eventually need to throw first if she wants to stay competitive in this fight. Lavado needs to be first and third but rather is just second right now as Young lands the initial blow and also closes out her combos.
Young is very easily controlling the center of the SmartCage right now as she decides to shoot a double and look to get the fight to the mat. Lavado digs for an underhook and successfully fights off the attempt before Young lands an inside trip and unloads a barrage of punches behind it! That’s one way to put an exclamation point on a round!
Young opens the second round with a nice lead body roundhouse kick as Lavado already appears to be playing catch up, that is throwing strikes at where Young just was rather than where she is.
Lavado seems to be turning up the aggression here but is still having trouble closing the distance as she overextends and Young perfectly shoots and takes Lavado to the mat with just over three minutes to work. Young is in top half guard right now as Lavado uses her leg to hold on to the left leg of Young to prevent her from continuing to pass to mount.
Young continues to stay busy, mixing up strikes and submission attempts as the clock continues to wind but Lavado is able to work back to her feet with a minute remaining and lands a nice hook on Young with a big straight right hand behind it! Could Lavado be turning the tide here as the second round comes to a close?
We begin our final round and Lavado will likely need a finish here if she wants to secure a victory. Lavado lands a nice lead hook and Young seems content to coast a little bit here as Lavado lands a heavy jab.
Lavado simply needs to go first here as Young is taking her foot off the gas but Lavado makes a mistake and allows Young to take her right down and land in half guard once again. Lavado has the underhook but she hasn’t been able to use it as Young has her legs locked down.
Young briefly attacks an arm triangle before switching back to some light ground and pound with two minutes remaining. Young passes off to side control and then back mount with a minute remaining and Young is emptying the gas tank here chasing the finish! Young postures up and rains down big punches before looking for an arm bar and then a heel hook! Forget anything about Young coasting, she’s going for it until the bitter end.
Closing moments of the 3rd round between Young vs Lavado! Official decision coming up next...#PFLonFubo LIVE NOW | @fuboSports— PFL (@PFLMMA) February 25, 2023
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Shanna Young gives it her all for 15 minutes to make sure she’s eligible for a contract tonight!
Shanna Young def. Sandra Lavado via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)