Sign up for ESPN + here, and then you can stream UFC, PFL, Dana White’s Contender Series, and “The Ultimate Fighter” live to your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet, or streaming device through the ESPN app. Joanne Wood’s comeback to wrestling begins again. The Syndicate MMA rep will meet Taila Santos in a crucial showdown in the Women’s Flyweight Division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as they face off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 198 this Saturday in UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Wood has alternated wins and losses in each of his last five appearances. The 34-year-old Scottish finds herself on the rebound after a split decision loss to Lauren Murphy at UFC 263 on June 12.
As Wood draws closer to her three-round battle with the once defeated Santos, a look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape her career at this point:
Wood knocked out Team USA’s export with a front body kick and follow-up punches in the third round of their historic UFC Fight Night 89 showcase on June 18, 2016 at the TD Place Arena in Ottawa, in Ontario. Letourneau passed out at 2:51 of the third round of what was the first women’s flyweight duo in Ultimate Fighting Championship history. Wood was downright ruthless. The soft-spoken Scotswoman knocked down Létourneau with a spinning backfist in the first round, pulled a pair of takedowns in the second and finished the job in the third. There, Wood passed the Canadian with a front kick to the body and later slammed her foot in the face. Létourneau survived the punches, but after a second front kick to the midsection, she winced in pain, turned away and withdrew. Wood chased her to the fence, pulled one knee in the back, and closed it with another punch to the face.
Parana cornerstone Vale Tudo submitted Wood with a guillotine choke in the first round of her UFC 203 strawweight female attraction on September 10, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Wood conceded the 4:38 loss in the first round, suffering only the second setback of his career. Andrade made several outs, shifted to lateral control and intimidated the Scotswoman with her soil and her pound. Wood tried to get to his feet but wandered into the guillotine and hit the choke after a brief struggle. Andrade edged out “JoJo” by a 44-23 overall strike margin and racked up over three minutes of checking time before scoring the save.
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The former Cage Fury Fighting Championships defending champion broadened her horizons, as she made a unanimous decision from Wood during their UFC 238 women’s flyweight prelims on June 8, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago. The three judges at the edge of the cage scored it for Chookagian: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. Wood leaned heavily on the low blows and caused significant damage to the inside of his counterpart’s leading leg. Chookagian was undeterred, used occasional melee knees and relaxed with combinations of two, three and four hits. Wood responded in spurts and even incorporated a few takedowns, but the efforts of the Season 20 quarter-finalist of “The Ultimate Fighter” weren’t rewarded on the scorecards despite the fact that she did. edged Chookagian on big hits (112-82) and total strikes (141-108).
When the opportunity presented itself, Maia responded. The former Invicta Fighting Championships title holder submitted Wood with an armband in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 173 main co-event on August 1, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. “JoJo” conceded the 4:29 loss in the first round, as she typed for the first time in nearly four years. Maia cut the Syndicate MMA star with crisp punch combinations, floundered through a series of kicks and kept her cool after being downed. The Brazilian framed the armband, adjusted her grip during a desperate run and bent Wood’s arm beyond its limits for the finish. The loss cost the Irvine, Scotland native a chance at the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship.
Wood unleashed punches, elbows and knees from the clinch, as she made a unanimous decision from the Xtreme Couture rep in their UFC 257 women’s flyweight feature on January 23, 2021 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. Eye hired the season 20 quarterfinalist of “The Ultimate Fighter” at close range, only to be faced with a fierce offensive attack from the Syndicate MMA-trained Scottish woman. Wood also did a lot of damage from a distance, connecting with penetrating punches and sneaky straight hooks, as well as occasional front kicks to the face, body, and legs. She provided Eye with a permanent reminder of her job in the dying moments of Round 3, where she opened up a cut to her left forehead with a well-placed knee kick.