Jelena Mrdjenovich found her way back to the win column but had to sweat out a majority decision.

The former two-division titlist used a superior work rate to barely edge Colombia’s Calista Silgado over ten rounds. Scores of 96-94 and 97-93 overruled a 95-95 tally to provide Mrdjenovich with her first victory in more than two years in their DAZN co-feature Thursday evening from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.

Mrdjenovich jumped out to a strong start in the opening rounds but also showed frustration from her opponent’s rough tactics. Silgado wisely clinched whenever the former multi-time titlist tried to work her way inside. Mrdjenovich complained to the referee about the frequent holding and hitting on the break, which was discouraged by head trainer SugarHill Steward who reminded his charge to keep her head.

Silgado showed the first signs of an upset with a strong third round. Mrdjenovich managed to dodge the first few power shots during an exchange before she walked into a left hook. Silgado later landed another left hook and a right hand upstairs, which Mrdjenovich took well but whose offense was briefly stalled as a result.

Mrdjenovich regained control of the tempo in round four. Silgado played defense and laid traps for much of the round but Mrdjenovich was wise to her opponent’s game and simply fought behind the jab.  

Referee Jerry Cantu had to twice warn Mrdjenovich over the second half of the fight for clinching and also for leading with her head. The threat was heeded by the former titlist who used a steady jab to disrupt Silgado’s rhythm. Mrdjenovich also found success with her straight right hand, against which Silgado struggled to defend though she never threatened to hit the deck.

The win is the first for Mrdjenovich (42-12-2, 19KOs) since December 2020. She since suffered back-to-back defeats to Mexico City’s Erika Cruz which ended her WBA featherweight title reign.

Silgado—who has faced nearly every notable fighter from featherweight through lightweight—fell to 21-17-4 (16KOs) and is just 2-6-1 in her past nine starts.

Headlining the show, locally based bantamweight Manuel ‘Gucci Manny’ Flores (15-0, 11KOs) enters his first main event and scheduled ten-rounder as he faces Phoenix’s Walter Santibanes (11-2, 2KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox