Paige VanZant talks about pressure she felt Saturday and if the fight went according to game plan (w/Analysis)

By Jonathan Cervantes, MMATorch contributor

Paige VanZant (photo credit Anne-Marie Sorvin © USA Today Sports)

Paige VanZant told the MMA media gathered after Saturday’s fight that she knew this fight, her first after his stint on “Dancing With The Stars,” was important.

“Coming off a loss, I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to perform,” she said. “Losing is the worst feeling in the world, so I knew I had to do everything possible to get back in the win column.”

She knew her opponent, Bec Rawlings, had the tools to beat her if she didn’t take her seriously. “For this one, I knew she was gonna have high level boxing,” she said. “I wanted to keep my range, show all my strikes and I was able to get the reaction I wanted in the first round and finished her in the second.”

Cervantes’s Analysis: Paige Vanzant looked excellent Saturday night coming off the loss and after being away from the sport for a while. With that being said, her career has so many parallels to Sage Northcutt as they are both young talented fighters who have been thrust into the limelight and have come up short under pressure, so this helped prevent a further slide. She’ll need to develop her skillset to become a more complete fighter, as we saw some of the holes in her game exposed in the Namajunas fight, but this victory was an important step forward to silencing some critics, including her opponent going into the fight.

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