*FPR supplemented by video scouting due to lack of Fight Metric data.
The first of six fights on FX this Saturday will be a women’s bantamweight match between Muay Thai kickboxer Germaine de Randamie and longtime MMA veteran Julie Kedzie. Kedzie opened up as the betting favorite at -155, but the line quickly flipped to make de Randamie a slight favorite. I understand why people are enthusiastic about de Randamie’s chances, but I’m a lot more skeptical.
What we know about de Randamie is that she’s an excellent kickboxer. She has a career record of 45-0 in Muay Thai competition. To a fault, her opponents in MMA have avoided striking against her at all costs. Instead, the game plan is to clinch, take her down, and keep the fight on the ground.
With Julie Kedzie as the opponent, I’m sure a lot of people are looking forward to some fireworks on the feet. Kedzie likes to throw strikes and has a good kicking game in particular. On a number of occasions, Kedzie has stepped into the pocket and fired a flurry of strikes at her opponent. Since Kedzie is much better standing than she is on the ground, it’s reasonable to think she’ll choose to engage with de Randamie.
If she does, it would be a big mistake in my opinion. de Randamie is still fairly new to the MMA game, as she enters this fight with a professional record of 3-2. As impressive as she is on the feet, she has yet to show a consistent ability to defend takedowns. She has shown occasional signs of life on the ground, but mostly stays on her back and holds onto her opponent. I don’t think she’s a threat to submit Kedzie if the fight goes to the ground.
If the fight stays standing, there is definitely a chance that de Randamie could be the first to knock Kedzie out. If I’m in Kedzie’s corner (and her coach just happens to be Greg Jackson), my advice would be to do what everybody else has done: clinch early and often, and take de Randamie to the ground. de Randamie is still dangerous with knees in the clinch, but Kedzie should be able to land takedowns in this fight.
I know Kedzie’s record of 16-11 looks a bit ugly, but she really isn’t that bad of a fighter. She’s fought a lot of very tough opponents in her career, including names like Gina Carano, Miesha Tate, and Tara LaRosa. She was very competitive in a lot of her losses. It’s a case where the overall record isn’t a good reflection of the skill set Kedzie brings to the table.
Part of that skill set is the ability to land takedowns. Until Germaine de Randamie shows that she can defend takedowns, it will be hard for me to pick her to win fights at a high level in MMA.
Pick: Julie Kedzie by decision