The first time Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas met, Namajunas controlled the first round. She used her length to rack up points with her jab and her movement kept Andrade from scoring with her power strikes. Namajunas controlled the early moments of the second round with the same approach, but when Andrade closed distance, she was able to pick up Namajunas and slam her on her head for the knockout win.
Heading into their rematch at UFC 251, Namajunas said she had lost the first meeting by not being fully invested in the contest. Andrade wanted to prove that she won the first meeting.
When the rematch began, Andrade used good movement in the early going, which seemed to keep Namajunas from landing with her fast hands. However, when Andrade tried to close distance, Namajunas snapped out her jabs and connected.
Andrade’s strikes came wide and while they were powerful, Andrade’s punches tended to leave her open for snapping counters.
Andrade kept her head movement up in the second round, but Namajunas stayed focused and continued to rely on her long punches to score points.
Throughout the fight, Namajunas did her best to control the center of the octagon. When Andrade slipped by her, Namajunas smoothly circled back into control.
Andrade scored a takedown at the halfway mark of the third round, but Namajunas was able to get back to her feet. By the time the third round ended, Namajunas’ left eye was badly swollen and her nose appeared to be broken.
This rematch, which Namajunas won via split decision, was an incredible 15-minute scrap. The odds are very good that Namajunas will earn a shot at current strawweight champion Weili Zhang in her next outing.
UFC 251 took place Saturday, July 11 at Fight Island on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The pay-per-view card streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass.