Transgender mixed martial artist Fallon Fox has suffered the first loss of her professional MMA career to the relatively unknown Ashlee Evans-Smith. The loss came via third-round technical knockout in a featherweight title fight during Saturday night's Championship Fighting Alliance 12 event.
The first round saw Fox attempt to pull guard almost immediately. However, the move failed and Evans-Smith showed off her grappling prowess, nearly securing a choke from the back. Fox escaped and landed some powerful punches and knees that nearly finished the fight, but Evans-Smith would survive the round.
The tables quickly turned in the second. Evans-Smith rocked Fox early and unleashed a flurry of punches and knees from side control, mount and crucifix positions. There was controversy at the end of round, as the referee motioned that the fight was over, but was unable to hear that the bell had rung just seconds earlier.
The third frame was another strong showing from Evans-Smith, who escaped an early takedown and reasserted her grappling superiority, out-grappling Fox, mounting her and pounding her out en route to the stoppage victory.
Entering the fight, Evans-Smith owned a 1-0 professional record and a 5-4 amateur record. The biggest win of her career came over current The Ultimate Fighter contestant and Invicta FC veteran Jessamyn Duke.
Fox, now 3-1 in her pro career, inadvertently drummed up controversy in 2012, as fans, fighters and the media all questioned the fairness of a male-to-female transgender competing in bouts against women. Some pointed to Fox's first four fights being stoppage victories as evidence that she owned an unfair advantage over her competition.
While Evans-Smith was just crowned the CFA champion, she is not contractually bound to the promotion. In a post-fight interview with Rodolfo Roman, she stated, "I'm a free agent, I'm not on contract with CFA. ... Wherever the road takes me is where I'll go."
It will be interesting to see how things pan out from here for either fighter. Evans-Smith is suddenly a major player at 145 pounds, and questions will begin flying as to whether or not Fox truly is a force in women's MMA.
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