UFC 223: Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk fight preview

Name: Rose Namajunas
Age: 25
Nationality: American
MMA Record: 7-3
UFC Record: 5-2
Notable Wins: Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Tecia Torres, Michelle Waterson
Notable Losses: Carla Esparza, Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Last Fight: TKO win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Fighter Profile: A former standout in Invicta FC, Namajunas ran the gaunlet on The Ultimate Fighter but ultimately lost in the finals to Carla Esparza. Since then she’s won five of her last six fights, including four of those by finish, the crown jewel being a TKO win over Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217. Namjunas is one of the most exciting fighters in the strawweight division and clearly one of the most dangerous as she has finishing power on the feet and on the ground. And at age 25, she should continue to get even better. While most weren’t giving her a chance the first time she fought Jedrzejczyk for the title, it’s hard to ignore what happened in that fight. And considering she shows improvements every time she fights, it would be silly to dismiss her in this rematch. A loss here and people will say the first fight was a fluke, but a win and people will say she’s amazing. This is a massive fight for her and in many ways a must-win as she looks to carve out her own legacy in the sport.

Name: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Age: 30
Nationality: Polish
MMA Record: 14-1
UFC Record: 8-1
Notable Wins: Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Jessica Andrade, Carla Esparza
Notable Losses: Rose Namajunas 
Last Fight: TKO loss to Rose Namajunas

Fighter Profile: The former long-time champion was seen as one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters and arguably the top female fighter in the sport. Jedrzejczyk had run through everyone and was looking like she’d have an Anderson Silva-type run in the women’s strawweight division, that is until she ran into Namajunas’ fists at UFC 217 where she was knocked out and lost her belt. While that loss was shocker and showed she might be on the decline, it’s hard to ignore everything she accomplished to that point. Her striking is still top-notch in the division, she has solid grappling skills and her cardio is strong enough to take her five rounds. There’s no doubt the loss to Namajunas stings and it could be the beginning of a downfall for her, but at the same time, considering how great she looked before that it’s hard to just write her off. If she beats Namajunas in the rematch, all will be back to normal for her, and this is the biggest fight of her career to date, one that’s a must-win if she wants to define her legacy in the sport.

Fight Breakdown: I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect the first fight to play out the way it did. I really thought Jedrzejczyk was the better striker and I thought she was going to piece Namajunas up in that fight and either win a lopsided decision or by TKO, just like she has every other fight in her career. But after seeing how that fight played out, I’m starting to feel like Namajunas is just a bad matchup for Jedrzejczyk. She seemed to have a speed advantage in the first fight not to mention an advantage in the boxing, and it’s hard not to question Jedrzejczyk’s durability after seeing how badly she got knocked out in that fight. Namajunas is the younger fighter and she’s improving rapidly. We saw in the first fight that she can more than hold her own on the feet, and we also know from previous performances that Namajunas likely has an advantage on the ground as well. I just feel like she’s a bad matchup for the former champion. While I was shocked seeing Namajunas finish Jedrzejczyk in the first fight, I won’t be shocked if she does the same thing this time around, and I’m going with the champ to defend her title in this one with another TKO win.

Prediction: Namajunas via TKO

Written by Adam Martin.

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