This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 274, the strawweight title was on the line. Rose Namajunas (11-5) was looking to defend her title and avenge a loss earlier in her career against the challenger Carla Esparza (19-6).
Despite losing the first fight between the two, Namajunas was a big betting favorite. I mean how couldn’t she be when we’ve seen Esparza look okay in past fights while Namajunas has gone 4-0 against the likes of Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
I have to be honest, I gave Carla Esparza no chance to win at UFC 274. Yes, Esparza has good wrestling, but Namajunas has such good scrambles and skills on the ground that I thought it would be neutralized. On top of that, Namajunas was miles better in the standup.
However, I don’t think anyone expected the fight that we got at UFC 274. Safe to say, it was the worst title fight in the history of the promotion. Namajunas spent virtually the entire fight on the outside throwing one shot here and one shot there.
Esparza kept holding the center and occasionally trying to throw stuff. She shot for takedowns and was definitely more active. However, she was landing either. In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight to Esparza due to that and she became the new strawweight champion.
What’s next after UFC 274?
I am a fan of Pat Barry’s and I think the work that him and Trevor Wittman have done with Rose Namajunas has been great. However, let’s be completely honest regarding the corner advice on Saturday night.
It was abysmal and that’s putting it lightly. The corner work from Barry might have been one of the main reasons that Rose Namajunas lost her title at UFC 274. In between rounds, you could hear Wittman start to ask for a little more aggressiveness from Namajunas.
However, Barry kept telling her that she was fighting perfectly. Namajunas never stepped on the gas and as a result, she lost the fight and her UFC title. Not only did she lose, but even Dana White said that the promotion won’t be interested in a rematch after watching that.
So now, the former UFC champion goes back to the drawing board. Next month, Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk will fight for the second time. It appears that the winner will face off against Carla Esparza.
My guess is that will lead the UFC to booking a matchup between Namajunas and top contender Marina Rodriguez.