Busted up: Yana Kunitskaya suffers badly broken nose in UFC Wichita win
Kunitskaya and Reneau faced off on the preliminary card in Wichita, Kansas, in a battle between two Top 10 contenders in the UFC women's bantamweight division.
And after a thrilling back-and-forth encounter that left both fighters bloodied and Kunitskaya with a badly broken nose, Kunitskaya earned a unanimous decision victory to move up the bantamweight ladder as she looks to move into world title contention.
Las Vegas-based Russian Kunitskaya scored an early takedown and dominated proceedings in the clinch in the opening round as she pinned Reneau against the fence and connected with a succession of knees to the body.
The 29-year-old settled into her kickboxing rhythm in the second round as she peppered Reneau with strikes, sending her back to the corner at the end of the round with blood streaming from her nose.
And, after some words of wisdom in her corner from former K-1 kickboxing legend Ray Sefo, Kunitskaya went out for the third round looking to put the seal on an impressive display.
Reneau connected with two solid left hands early in the final round as she looked to turn the fight dramatically in her favor. And one particularly well-placed shot left Kunitskaya with a badly broken nose as the Russian's face became covered in blood during the fight's closing stages.
But despite suffering the late adversity, Kunitskaya maintained her composure to negotiate the final seconds of the fight as the bout went to the judges' scorecards.
And when the scores were totaled, all three judges awarded the bout to Kunitskaya with scores of 29-28 across the board.
Imagine Yana Kunitskaya flying home tomorrow looking like this and trying to convince the person in the seat next to her that, yes, she actually WON a fight this weekend. pic.twitter.com/hR9zJ7eYW6— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) March 10, 2019
The Russian starlet endured a baptism of fire in her octagon debut back at UFC 222 a year ago, when she stepped up a weight class to challenge the power-punching UFC featherweight champion at the time, Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino.
But "Foxy" bounced back in fine style when she returned to her natural weight class of bantamweight at UFC 229 last October. And her unanimous decision victory over the gritty Swede Lina Lansberg earned Kunitskaya a spot in the bantamweight Top 10 and a shot at No.6-ranked Reneau.
And now, following her hard-earned victory in Wichita, Kunitskaya has back-to-back victories in the UFC and will surely be targeting Top 5 opposition in her next bout.Also on rt.com Yana 'Foxy' Kunitskaya: Meet Russian MMA star set for action at UFC Wichita this weekend