Joanna Jedrzejczyk may have had a built-in excuse for her first loss to Rose Namajunas back at UFC 217. But at UFC 223, she would simply be outclassed by the better fighter on the night.
After five full rounds of action in a fight that was mainly contested on the feet, Namajunas outpointed the former Muay Thai and Kickboxing champion to prove to the Joanna and the rest of the world that left hook in New York was anything but a fluke.
Jedrzejczyk was able to utilize her low kicks throughout the fight in an effort to slow Namajunas down but it wouldn’t be a enough to get her title back. It was the footwork and head movement of Namajunas that allowed her to hit that left hook, her most powerful weapon, at will, busting up Jedrzejcyzk’s face in the process. Aside from the leg kicks, she was able to avoid just about anything of substance from Joanna. The champ was laser focused from the get go en route to a successful first title defense.
Namajunas sealed the deal in the fifth with a beautiful lead uppercut (the most significant strike of the round) and an outside trip that scored her a takedown at the end of the contest.
In the end, all three judges would award the fight to Namajunas (49-46 x 3) allowing her to join Jedrzejczyk as the second competitor to successfully defend the 115 lbs UFC title.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t that technical this time. I was feeling a little heavy but I still pulled through,” Namajunas told Joe Rogan inside of the Octagon following her victory. Rogan would quickly correct her by telling her that it was indeed a very technical fight.
“She was right, that weight cut did kind of mess her up the first time, but I’m just better, man,” the champ explained, addressing Jedrzejczyk’s excuses for her loss in their first meeting.
With two consecutive victories over one of the most dominant champions in the history of the sport, Namajunas now has a full slate of fighters looking to challenge her for the gold. Don’t be a surprised if we get a rematch with Karloina Kowalkiewicz, a fighter who holds a victory over Namajunas and was victorious over Felice Herrig earlier tonight, in the near future.