If anyone had any concerns that Leslie Smith’s drop to flyweight would affect her cardio and punching output, those concerns can be put to rest. Smith battered Jennifer Maia over three rounds with her high volume attack of strikes en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Leslie Smith and Jennifer Maia wasted little time getting to know each other, engaging in exchanges early and often. Smith caught a kick of Maia and put her on her back taking the fight to the mat for the first time. Maia stayed active on her back, scrambling to her feet as both fighters battled for control of position on the cage. After the restart, Smith stayed the aggressor, coming forward into range and throwing combinations. Maia obliged Smith, firing back with crisp combinations of her own. Smith poured on the punishment late, peppering Maia with a flurry of strikes to cap off an exciting round.

Smith picked up where she left off in the first, putting on the pressure to start the second. The fight then went to the mat, and again it was a battle of wills as both fighters scrambled for position. Smith finally established control from the top and started to grind Maia with short elbows and left hands. Smith then stood and took the center of the cage to resume her stand up attack. Again, the exchanges were nonstop, as Maia and Smith engaged in a war of attrition on the feet. Maia then secured a trip takedown, but it was Smith that quickly found an opening to go for a submission as she locked up an arm. Maia fought off the submission attempt to end another action-packed round.

The third round started with fireworks as both fighters stood in the pocket and fired a flurry of back-and-forth shots. An eye poke stopped the action but only briefly, as Smith and Maia resumed their battle in the center of the cage. Smith then peppered Maia with a right hand, then staggered her with a standing elbow. Smith continued to pour on the punishment, but gave up a trip takedown that put her on her back. Maia then locked up the head of Smith but couldn’t keep it secured as Smith pulled free and took top position. Smith immediately went for a guillotine from the top, and punished the body of Maia with her free hand, before giving up the submission attempt to land big strikes from the top. Smith then advanced to full mount and teed off with punches from the top forcing Maia to roll. Smith finished the round on top in an impressive top contender bout.

With scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28, Leslie Smith (6-3-1 MMA, 3-1-1 IFC) becomes the top contender in Invicta FC’s flyweight earning the unanimous decision victory.

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