Rose Namajunas avenged her previous loss to Jessica Andrade with a split decision win at UFC 251 after a hellacious battle.
A rematch over a year in the making. A pair of former champions looking to get back in the win column. The opportunity for another contender to emerge. That is what Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade 2 at UFC 251 had to offer.
So many questions circled the strawweight battle on Fight Island on Saturday. How would Namajunas look after so much time away? Would she repeat her showing in the opening round of their first fight? Would she avoid the power of Andrade, which eventually stopped her with a slam in the second round of the pair’s original meeting? The first round opened up with a leg kick from Andrade, followed by a few light shots from Namajunas that didn’t connect.
Namajunas connected with a right hand off an Andrade leg kick. More big shots connected for Namajunas. Both women exchanged leg kicks before exchanging big shots inside the pocket. Andrade landed a nice hook but Namajunas answered back with one of her own. Namajunas continued to string together beautiful combinations and evaded Andrade’s shots nicely. A takedown attempt from Andrade was defended with a knee to the face by Namajunas as the round came to an end.
The second round started off with more nice striking work from Namajunas. Namajunas just missed on a flying knee but caught Andrade a few times coming in response. A nice front kick to the body connected for Namajunas. Andrade fired back with a big body shot but Namajunas connected with a clean combination that wobbled Andrade slightly.
A flying knee from Namajunas connected but she slipped and fell, however, able to get back to her feet quickly. Namajunas continued to simply dominate the matchup with the standup. Andrade was able to put together a nice combination off a clinch break but Namajunas went back to work with the striking in response. Andrade began to rip big shots to the body and connected, and clipped Namajunas inside the pocket during an exchange before the round ended.
The third and final round kicked off with a nice body attack from Andrade. Andrade, obviously desperate for the finish being down on the scorecards, is being very aggressive. Namajunas lands nicely with the jab, but Andrade is starting to land nice shots. Namajunas was busted open on her nose badly by Andrade, with blood pouring out heavily. Andrade began to target the area and rocked Namanunas with a big shot, dropping her.
Namajunas was able to recover full guard and threw up a triangle attempt, but then decided to push Andrade off and get back to her feet. A nice leg kick connected for Andrade but Namajunas responded with a clean 1-2. Andrade fired right back with a hard overhand, and rocked Namajunas with a pair of stiff jabs. Andrade connected with a right hand inside the pocket and Namajunas gets the takedown. A quick scramble from Andrade and the fight is back to the feet. Namajunas gets in a hard jab before the round comes to an end.
Official result: Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)