Top 5 Rose Namajunas finishes in the UFC

Rose Namajunas - women's strawweight champion
Rose Namajunas - women's strawweight champion
Giancarlo Aulino

Rose Namajunas is one of the top female fighters in the UFC. The reigning strawweight champion regained the title last year when she knocked out then-champion Zhang Weili. She then followed that up by earning a split-decision in the rematch this past November.

‘Thug Rose’ has significantly improved since her stint on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. After losing to Carla Esparza in the finale, she went on an impressive winning streak and earned another title shot. She challenged then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, where she knocked her out and ended a dominant title reign.

Namajunas has become one of the promotion’s most entertaining fighters. Fans have rallied behind her, which has resulted in her being one of their biggest female stars. This list will look back at the top five Rose Namajunas finishes in the UFC.

#5. Namajunas submits Paige VanZant - UFC Fight Night 80

5 years ago today, Rose Namajunas dominated Paige VanZant enroute to a 5th round submission win.Rose was a +120 underdog to win the fight, with the peak being +175.

Although the biggest wins of Rose Namajunas’ UFC career were knockouts, she has finished most of her opponents with submissions. Of her 11 wins, 5 of them have come via submission. Her submission skills were showcased when she fought Paige VanZant in the main event of a Fight Night card.

Namajunas turned in a dominant performance against ’12 Gauge’ during the fight. She won every round, having success with her takedowns and even displaying excellent takedown defense. It looked like she was closing in on a third-round submission win, however, the round ended before she could apply more pressure on her choke.

‘Thug Rose’ took advantage of an opening in the final round, landed a combination and then took VanZant down to the ground. She passed her guard with little difficulty and applied a rear-naked choke from behind that forced her to tap.

#4. Namajunas submits Angela Hill – UFC 192

Oct3.2015"Thug" Rose Namajunas earns her first victory in the UFC,when she finishes Angela Hill with a standing rear naked choke

Rose Namajunas is currently the reigning strawweight champion, but her tenure with the promotion was in jeopardy heading into UFC 192. At the time, she had an MMA record of 2-2 and was on a two-fight losing skid. Her opponent Angela Hill was in a similar predicament.

The strawweight bout kicked off the prelim portion on Fox Sports 1 and ended in an incredible fashion. It didn’t last very long as Namajunas submitted ‘Overkill’ at 2:47 of the first-round.

‘Thug Rose’ secured a takedown from the clinch and began controlling her on the ground. She then got a hold of her back and applied a rear-naked choke. The choke was locked in deep despite Hill getting back to her feet. Her attempt to escape by moving towards the fence didn’t work and she was forced to tap.

#3. Namajunas submits Michelle Waterson - UFC on Fox 24

April 15, 20171 year ago today, Rose Namajunas defeated Michelle Waterson via rear-naked choke at 2:47 of the 2nd round at UFC on Fox 24. The win earned @rosenamajunas a UFC Strawweight title fight against Joanna Jędrzejczyk who Rose defeated in the 1st round to win the belt.

Namajunas’ bout with Michelle Waterson at UFC on Fox 24 ended with a wild sequence. The bout served as the co-main event and was significant for her career trajectory. She came into the fight following a split-decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a title-eliminator bout. Waterson had won back-to-back fights over Angela Magana and Paige VanZant and a third-straight win could’ve earned her a title shot.

The bout was intriguing, especially considering that both were karate black belts. Namajunas dropped ‘The Karate Hottie’ with a head-kick in the second-round and then swarmed her. She managed to scramble and apply a rear-naked choke, which brought her back to the ground.

After fighting to escape the submission, Waterson tapped out at 2:47 of the second-round. With the win, Namajunas earned a title shot against then-strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

#2. Namajunas knocks out Zhang Weili – UFC 261

Rose Namajunas knocks out Zhang Weili
Rose Namajunas knocks out Zhang Weili

Rose Namajunas made a massive statement when she knocked out Zhang Weili to regain the strawweight championship at UFC 261. It was a significant event for the promotion and professional sports as a whole. It was the first event to see the return of a full capacity crowd.

Fans were vocal throughout and gave a thunderous ovation to Namajunas, while the champion was booed heavily. ‘Thug Rose’ benefited from the crowd’s response as it clearly fazed the champion. The initial few minutes of the fight were a feeling out process as the two circled each other looking for an opening. Namajunas did just that as she landed a perfectly timed head-kick that immediately knocked the champion out.

Weili protested and felt the stoppage was premature. But after viewing the replay, it was clear that the correct decision was made. They had a rematch this past November which saw ‘Thug Rose’ retain the belt by a split-decision.

#1. Namajunas finishes Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC 217

UFC 217: Jedrzejczyk v Namajunas
UFC 217: Jedrzejczyk v Namajunas

Namajunas’ TKO win against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 was the biggest moment of her MMA career. During the lead-up to the fight, then-champion Jedrzejczyk was the focal point and rightfully so. A win would’ve tied her with former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for most women’s title defenses.

‘Thug Rose’ pulled off an upset by finishing the dominant champion in the first-round. She dropped ‘The Boogeywoman’ with a straight-right less than two-minutes into the fight. Jedrzejczyk managed to regroup and get back on her feet, but the end was near. Shortly after, Namajunas dropped her again with a powerful left-hook and unloaded a flurry of ground strikes.

Jedrzejczyk’s title reign and performances in her previous title defenses made the TKO win much more impressive. Despite their rematch being more competitive in 2018, ‘Thug Rose’ still retained gold after earning a unanimous decision win.

Edited by Allan Mathew


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