One-time title challenger Taila Santos made nothing easy for Blanchfield, especially in the opening round with a barrage of strikes that were consistently landing with accuracy. Blanchfield survived the onslaught and then simply outworked Santos for the final 10 minutes with a relentless pace that could not be matched.
In the end, all three judges scored the fight 29-28 with Blanchfield remaining undefeated in the UFC after her sixth straight win in the promotion.
“Not surprised, I’m fighting top five in the world so everyone’s going to be tough to hit, tough to takedown but I’m happy to get the win,” Blanchfield said about her performance. “She was definitely swinging wild. I didn’t want to chance getting hit with anything crazy.”
It was a striking clinic early for Santos as she chopped down Blanchfield with a series of kicks to the legs and then going back up top to the head with her punches. Midway through the opening round, Blanchfield had blood trickling down her face from a cut on her nose but that only seemed to fuel her as she continued pressing forward to look for the takedown.
Santos continued to shrug off Blanchfield’s wrestling while battering her on the feet with a variety of strikes. It was an impressive display of grappling defense but Santos eventually made a mistake when she attempted to out muscle Blanchfield and it ended with her falling down to the canvas.
After finally gaining top position, Blanchfield maintained control as she kept Santos locked underneath her, although she wasn’t able to do much damage. Still, Blanchfield’s ability to stay heavy prevented Santos from slipping free until the second round was nearly at an end.
With Santos starting to slow down, Blanchfield was able to get inside to work from the clinch while grinding the Brazilian against the cage. The grueling pace was really wearing on Santos with Blanchfield also getting the better of the exchanges on the feet.
As time ticked away to the final horn. Blanchfield blasted Santos with possibly the hardest shot in the entire fight, which helped her secure the victory and take one more step towards a chance at becoming UFC champion. That was definitely on Blanchfield’s mind as she quickly turned her attention to the Noche UFC main event on Sept. 16 between flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko.
“I want a title shot next,” Blanchfield said. “I want the winner of Valentina vs. Grasso.”