UFC 223 — Rose Namajunas beats Joanna Jedrzejczyk to keep strawweight belt

MMA


NEW YORK — Rose Namajunas proved her upset victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk five months ago was no fluke, as she successfully defended the title in a rematch at UFC 223 at Barclays Center on Saturday night.

Namajunas (8-3) handed Jedrzejczyk a second straight defeat, this time via unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout for Namajunas 49-46, although that probably doesn’t reflect how close the 115-pound title fight was.

Namajunas stunned Jedrzejczyk (14-2) in their first meeting in November with a first-round knockout, but the second meeting was relatively even.

Jedrzejczyk actually outlanded Namajunas in total strikes by a significant margin. According to Fightmetric, Jedrzejczyk landed 143 to Namajunas’ 85.

Namajunas, of Denver, appeared to land the much harder shots, however. She stunned Jedrzejczyk with a left hook late in the first round and busted her nose with combinations in the fifth. The final round was arguably Namajunas’ best, as Jedrzejczyk’s right eye swelled badly from punches.

After the first meeting, Jedrzejczyk revealed she had suffered through a 14-hour weight cut, which she felt negatively impacted her performance. She came into the rematch in terrific shape, attempting a total of 383 strikes.

A good percentage of those were leg kicks, which proved her best weapon. Namajunas struggled to get out of the way of those kicks, but her mobility never seemed to suffer. She also scored a takedown in the final minute of the fight.

“I’m just better, man,” she said afterward.

The victory capped a wild week for Namajunas. She was in the van that was attacked by Conor McGregor and was badly shaken up. She walked back to her hotel after the incident and UFC president Dana White personally consoled her.

Prior to her first loss to Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk was considered one of the best pound-for-pound female fighters in the world. She came one title defense away from tying Ronda Rousey‘s record of six consecutive title defenses.



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