It is nearly impossible not to root for Kaitlin Young.
As a professional writer, I try my best to maintain at least an appearance of neutrality when covering events. And although the local fight community in Minneapolis knows Young as one of the hardest working fighters training at the Academy (which, of course, is one of the best MMA gyms in town) it’s worth noting that Barone could have the same reputation in her hometown.
But when I’d heard that Anna contacted promoters to change her contracted weight for the fight only two weeks out, I had to wonder about her professionalism. And then when she showed up to fight and weighed in at 147.5, I had to roll my eyes. This was followed by a barrage of excuses about having a sinus infection and being on antibiotics and retaining water and cutting on her cycle and all these other issues that just never seem to be a problem for professional fighters–like Kaitlin–who make weight every time.
Barone’s lack of professionalism almost led to the cancellation of the fight–which was the main event–even after her flight from Canada had been paid for by event promoters. (“Kaitlin was very unselfish, and basically saved the show, probably as a favor to us,” promoter Jeremy Bjornberg said.) To add insult to injury, Barone was required to weigh in the day of the event to make sure she was under 151 (she came in at 149.5) and, when I asked her about not making weight via facebook, she actually complained about “not having enough time to recover from the cuts.” Let’s just say I’m not sympathetic.
If Barone’s weight gave her an advantage in this fight, it certainly didn’t show. The two did not touch gloves when this bout began, and Young began landing knees and kicks to the body. Young had Barone against the cage, and Barone managed to get to the center but had no answer for the kicks and knees to the body delivered in the center of the cage. Young landed a nice elbow, which opened up a cut on Barone’s face. Barone landed some punches in this first round, but they did not do much damage. The doctor looked at Anna’s cuts at the end of the round, but she was allowed to continue.
The second round was all Kaitlin, who landed jab after jab in addition to working Anna’s left leg with unchecked kicks. Anna began bleeding heavily and Young continued relentlessly attacking her leg. Anna landed some intermittent punches and attempted two takedowns by catching Kaitlin’s leg during a kick, but the fight remained standing throughout the round.
The doctor stopped the bout after the second round, probably due to cuts, declaring Kaitlin Young the winner. Kaitlin, who’s been in training camp since July but had 5 fights fall through, stated in the post-fight interview that she was planning on taking some well-deserved time off. When she returns in a month or two, here’s hoping her next fight won’t fall through and her next opponent will actually make weight–both seem rarer and rarer these days.