Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went to war tonight in the co-main event of UFC 223!
No touch of the gloves for these two. Joanna started out with a hard leg kick, but very few strikes were landed in the first two minutes. Both fighters looked sharp, but primarily felt each other out.
Rose landed a right hand and then another as the first round wound down to the one minute mark. Joanna had some red under her eye, but she was still light on her feet.
Thug tagged her opponent with a left but in the last ten seconds Joanna landed her own big left.
Big one-two by Rose early in the second, but Joanna also landed a left.
Thug held the middle of the cage. Joanna tagged her opponent then got out of the pocket. Rose landed a nice flurry, though, and even dropped her hands to taunt her opponent. The numbers were close, but Rose led in head shots.
Rose frequently got the better of the exchanges, no doubt showing that Joanna’s previous loss was not simply due to a bad weight cut.
Rose got Joanna in the clinch and pressed her up against the cage as the round drew to a close.
Touch of the gloves in the third round and Thug clipped and wobbled Joanna. The former champion shrugged it off with a smile, though. Rose’s leg reddened as Joanna continued to punish her opponent’s lead leg with kicks. But she didn’t limit it to the legs. Joanna landed a big head kick, as well. As the round wound down, she landed a one-two on the champion. Things were starting to go in Joanna’s favor.
Joanna started the championship rounds with a hard inside leg kick. Rose started to slow down, landing fewer of the punches that defined the first three rounds. Joanna was also starting to win most of the punching exchanges. Another leg kick by the former champion, and Thug wobbled. The champ was still in it, though, landing some nice strikes to the face. Still, it was Joanna doing the chasing now.
Fifth and final round and it was anyone’s game. Joanna wanted a hug, but Thug wasn’t interested. Instead, she wanted to land a big jab to her opponent’s face, which she did early. Rose knew that the match was close, and charged in more than she did in the last two rounds. Joanna was bloodied, her left eye almost completely closed and her nose bleeding. Still, she kept coming with the leg kicks.
Head kick by Rose but Joanna returned in kind. Thug once again got the better of the exchanges, though. In the last thirty seconds Rose landed the only takedown of the fight, holding her opponent down as Joanna landed some shots.
— UFC (@ufc) April 8, 2018
It was enough to impress the judges, and Rose Namajunas is still the UFC Strawweight Champion!