Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 274 we will see a rematch of the very first strawweight title fight in the promotion’s history. The champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas (11-4) will look to avenge her earlier loss when she faces former champion Carla Esparza (18-6).
The first fight between these two came all the way back in 2014 on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter. That season of TUF was designed to find the new strawweight champion and Carla Esparza won the UFC title by submitting Namajunas.
Esparza immediately dropped the title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Since losing the title, Esparza has gone 8-3 in the UFC. Honestly, I never thought I’d see Esparza fight for the title again. However, she’s won five fights in a row to earn this shot.
2021 was an incredible year for Rose Namajunas. After returning in 2020 to defeat Jessica Andrade, Rose was given a UFC title shot against Zhang Weili. Namajunas shocked everyone when she knocked Weili out in the first round with a head kick.
After that, she won the immediate rematch by decision. She’s the only woman in UFC history to have won a title twice in a given weight class. She’s looking for revenge tomorrow and to prove once again she’s the best in the world.
UFC 274 Prediction
Virtually nobody is picking Carla Esparza to win tomorrow night at UFC 274. That’s pretty rare when you see a rematch where the fighter who won the first fight is being given virtually no chance in the second fight.
Well, that’s just because the progression of Rose Namajunas has been sensational. Esparza might’ve improved, but nothing like Thug Rose. So how can Esparza shock the world tomorrow night? Well, she has to grind out Namajunas.
She has to use her wrestling to get the fight to the mat and keep it there. At range, she’s going to get touched up badly. Namajunas is faster and has way better technique. Plus, Esparza doesn’t have any heat on her shots to gain respect from Namajunas.
Namajunas has so many ways to win at UFC 274. I think she can win a dominant decision, she can knock Esparza out, and I believe that she can submit her. Esparza is as tough as they come and I lean towards this fight taking some time.
However, in the middle rounds, I think Namajunas really pours it on. I’m expecting Namajunas to get the finish and retain her UFC title.
Prediction: Rose Namajunas by TKO – Round 3