The Severe Spotlight: Erin Blanchfield

The Severe Spotlight looks at Erin Blanchfield’s UFC Vegas 37 performance.

UFC Vegas 37 has just wrapped up. Anthony Smith capped off the evening with a fantastic first round submission over Ryan Spann, pushing himself back toward a second crack at 205 gold. Speaking of gold, this week’s spotlight shines a light on a performance that was just that, gold.

Erin Blanchfield is a fighter we all need to take notice of in the flyweight division. At just 22 years of age, to show the level of maturity she did in her UFC debut, was very impressive. She improved her record to 7-1, her only loss coming to now fellow UFC fighter Tracy Cortez back in 2019, a split decision loss at that.

As UFC debuts go, this was an enjoyable one and what you want to see from a prospect. All three rounds she won dominantly, and yet inside those rounds there was plenty of things that can be taken away and learnt from, lets have a look at the fight.

Blanchfield came out fast into the centre of the cage in an orthodox stance. Alpar, a southpaw, tagged her immediately with a couple of straight lefts. The difference began here. On the next left, Alpar followed in to engage a grappling exchange, to which Blanchfield grabbed an overhook, got dominant head position, circled away and used her right hand as a frame, as Alpar followed, Blanchfield had a knee waiting and disengaged. Alpar attempted to throw a right hand, which Blanchfield rolled under and reset, that’s great MMA.

There were some continuous themes over the three rounds, the first was the dominant grappling, the right high kick, damaging shots, and the forward pressure. The pressure made Alpar overreach on her shots, which lead to the damaging shots. Damaging shots lead to Alpar changing levels, for a respite from the striking exchanges and here the real dominance began.

Blanchfield attempted 3 takedowns, landed three takedowns and each time, she progressed her position to either the mount, or the back where she landed vicious ground and pound. That was very much on show in the second round. Pressing Alpar up against the fence and using a grapevine to control Alpars hips and a smart grip with her right hand to hold the left forearm of Alpar. Traditionally you would expect the top fighter to strip away the posts of the bottom fighter to stop them from getting up, however this grip allowed Blanchfield to close the space between the cage and her opponents back, and thus Alpar couldn’t get her back to the fence to wall walk. Again, that’s great MMA.

The third round was much the same, however Blanchfield had grown in confidence. The fight ended with referee Chris Tognoni mere blows away from stopping the contest. As the final bell was heard Blanchfield was initially frustrated, that’s a good signal of intent.

In a Flyweight division that is crying out for contenders to face the ultra-dominant Valentina Shevchenko, you can add Erin Blanchfield as a woman that joins Maycee Barber, Casey O’Neill and Miranda Maverick as the potential future of the division.

Who would you like to see Blanchfield fight next?