Canada’s Jamey-Lyn Horth wins UFC debut by decision over Hailey Cowan

A pin with the Ultimate Fighting Championship logo and a maple leaf is shown in Ottawa on Thursday, September 29, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canadian Jamey-Lyn Horth won her UFC debut Saturday, earning a unanimous decision over American bantamweight (All Hail) Hailey Cowan on a UFC Fight Night card.

The judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 for the 33-year-old from Squamish, B.C., who has now won all six of her pro bouts.

“We were prepared for battle and I was ready for that,” said Horth.

The main event at the UFC’s Apex production facility saw China’s Yadong (Kung Fu Kid) Song, ranked eighth among bantamweight contenders, stop No. 10 Ricky Simon of the U.S. via TKO 70 seconds into the fifth round.

Horth scored with body kicks in the first round, looking to counter as Cowan, a ex-gymnast who won an acrobatics and tumbling national title at Baylor University, came forward. The two grappled at the fence before Horth connected with a head kick.

Horth fought off a takedown attempt and Cowan was bleeding from the left eye, caused by an accidental clash of heads, as the first round ended.

Cowan (7-3-0) came out with intent in the second round, grabbing hold of Horth and pushing her against the fence. They moved back to the centre of the cage, only to have Horth go down after losing her balance when Cowan caught a kick.

Horth fought her way back to her feet but Cowan. moving forward, began to find her striking range. All three judges gave Cowan the second round.

Horth was warned for grabbing the fence early in the third round, an illegal move that helped her stave off a Cowan takedown. Cowan tripped Horth but the Canadian scrambled back to her feet almost immediately.

Cowan seemed to tire as the round wore on and Horth began to connect with strikes. Cowan kept coming forward and Horth kept countering. Cowan landed a late takedown in the final seconds, catching another kick, but failed to do damage.

Horth moved up from flyweight (125 pounds) to compete at bantamweight (135 pounds) Saturday. Cowan, also making her UFC debut, missed weight at 137.5 pounds, 1.5 pounds over the bantamweight non-title limit, and had to forfeit 20 per cent of her purse to Horth.

Horth had said she would move away from mixed martial arts if she did not make the UFC by the time she was 33. She finally got the call from the UFC in March, six days before her 33rd birthday,

Horth last fought in December 2021 when she submitted Brazil’s Mayra Cantuaria at LFA 120 to win the vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance flyweight title in Prior Lake, Minn. The victory came despite a nasty knee injury suffered early in the fight.

Horth, who had her first amateur fight in November 2016 and made her pro debut in March 2018, got into martial arts through friends — initially as a cross-training partner to playing soccer.

The 31-year-old Cowan earned her UFC contract with a split-decision win over Brazil’s Claudia Leite in August on Dana White’s Contender Series. 

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