UFC 223 Results: Rose Namajunas Defends Title and Defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk Again
In the co-main event of the night, Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk met in their second straight fight against each other as popular strawweight champion Namajunas made her first title defense, this one coming in Brooklyn after she initially won the title at Madison Square Garden. Unlike the first bout, the fight went the distance, but the outcome was the same. Namajunas defended her title for the first time, with her striking in the early rounds leading her to win by unanimous decision.
The fight began without a glove touch, and the early part of the first round didn’t lean towards either fighter as both landed. It didn’t take long for this fight to last longer than the first one had, but nearing the last minute Rose grew more aggressive and kept Joanna moving backwards as she landed using her right hand. Rose went after Joanna aggressively at the end of the round and was able to push her against the fence, but the round ended before anything came from it.
Rose caught Joanna with a combination at the start of the third round, and continued to advance continually for most of the first minute and a half or so of the round. Rose clinched with about two minutes left in the round but couldn’t get a takedown or do damage in the position. Joanna landed knees in the clinch during the last thirty seconds of round two, but the round definitely wasn’t a victory for her.
Joanna was once again tagged at the very start of the round, but was able to shake it off. In the third round, Joanna finally started to land better, and was able to get a head kick, a backfist, and a combination or two in the early minutes. The third round was something of a momentum shift, and ended with both fighters throwing hands. At the start of the fourth round, Joanna was more active and looked more like her old self, from before the loss in her first fight with Rose. Joanna’s kicks played a factor and her jab was also a weapon. She landed a higher volume of strikes during the exchanges in the last minute, but suffered from swelling in her right eye.
Rose was back to her aggression from earlier, in the final round. She started walking down Joanna again and showed off her chin, and she continued advancing regardless of what Joanna threw at her. Going into the final minute, both fighters had blood on them and Rose finally went for another takedown, after only attempting one during the earlier rounds. She was able to get Joanna to the ground, and kept her there while eating some strikes from the top.
The fight went to the scorecards and the later rounds weren’t so easy to score. However, her early edge led to Rose getting the victory by unanimous decision(49-46, 49-46, 49-46), to prove that her title reign isn’t a fluke. This is her third straight win and her second straight over the same opponent, and her record moves up to 8-3. Joanna, on the other hand, will fall to 14-2 after her second straight loss following the undefeated start to her MMA career.