By Jake Smith
IMMAF 2019 World Lightweight Champion Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa can now add 2021 European gold to her ever growing collection following her victory over Sara Jozwiak; but she needed all her championship mentality and skill set to do so.
Although competing for the maximum possible time on her path to the final, she showed no signs of slowing down, and the combat kicked off with one of the most action-packed opening minutes seen in Kazan this week. De Sousa met Jozwiak in the center of the cage and the pair began exchanging heavy shots.
Jozwiak is renowned for her extensive grappling and once she secured a takedown, she tied up De Sousa’s arm and chipped away with some sharp short shots before the defending champion managed to escape out of the back door.
With Jozwiak’s constant forward pressure, De Sousa found herself stuck up against the cage, taking repetitive knees to the legs and body; she waited patiently and caught a leg as it was firing towards her and took the bout to the floor, taking the back and looking for a rear naked choke, before a scramble led to De Sousa finding herself in full mount and armbar attempt with seconds of the round left.
The pressure forced De Sousa to play Jozwiak at her home game, and she did it perfectly, catching a kick and taking the fight to the floor early in the second round. Once there, De Sousa showed her own grappling prowess, systematically working her way through positions and establishing a heavy top pressure.
They weren’t back to their feet for long when De Sousa shot in a sublime double leg, landing in her opponent’s guard and working away with some neat ground and pound before the round was out.
De Sousa continued to show a championship mindset and after finding success in her own ground game, opted to take the fight to the floor once again in the third and final round. The second the bout hit the mat, the Bahraini champion advanced her position with ease, before finding home inside control. Once back to her feet, she refused to let Jozwiak back up off the mat, reigning down clinical punches.
One her way to the final, De Sousa claimed one of her biggest scalps to date, handing 2019 World champion Michelle Montague her first loss as an amateur, in what was one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of the entire tournament.
With this victory on finals day, De Sousa extended her unbeaten perfect record to 7-0-0 and is now arguably the biggest star in women’s amateur MMA. Poland has uncovered another raw diamond in Jozwiak and she will be looking forward to a rematch with De Sousa.