The UFC’s July 11th card just added a big-time women’s strawweight fight to it’s main card. Former champions “Thug” Rose Namajunas (8-4) and Jessica Andrade (20-7) will be running it back at UFC 251 after Andrade knocked out Namajunas back in 2019 to take the strawweight title.
“Thug” Rose’s Return
Thug Rose hasn’t fought since the loss to Andrade, and this will be a big fight for her in her return. She said that going into the Andrade fight, she was questioning her future in fighting. She wasn’t feeling the fire that led her to the strawweight title. Namajunas became a star overnight when she dethroned former champion, Joanna Jedrejczyk back at UFC 217. Jedrzejczyk was widely considered the best female fighter in the world leading into the fight with Namajunas. She was 14-0 and dismantled almost every woman that stood across from her. Namajunas shocked the world by knocking Jedrzejczyk out in the first round. Because Jedrzejczyk had been so dominant during her reign, the UFC gave her the chance to run things back against Thug Rose. Namajunas proved she was the new queen after clearly defeating Jedrzejczyk over the course of a five-round decision. Namajunas took some time off after the rematch with Jedrzejczyk. Her second title defense came against Andrade at UFC 237.
Andrade Looks to Repeat
Jessica Andrade came into the fight with Namajunas as the clear number one contender. She had rattled off wins against some of the best fighters in the division and was coming off of a highlight-reel knockout win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 228. That being said, most people believed that Namajunas was going to retain the title when the two fought. When they fought, Namajunas controlled most of the fight. She used her distance extremely well and bloodied the challenger. It was incredibly difficult for Andrade to get on the inside to do any damage. However, one grappling exchange changed everything. Andrade was able to use her raw strength to lift Namajunas and slam her which knocked the former champion unconscious. Andrade celebrated in her native Brazil as she became the fourth ever UFC strawweight champion. Of course, her reign didn’t last long as she was knocked out in the first round by the current champion, Weili Zhang, just a few months later.
Next in Line
This is a big-time fight for the strawweight division. The winner of this fight will likely be next in line to take on the champion, Zhang. It will be really interesting to see the mental state of Thug Rose. I believe she’s one of the most talented female fighters in the world, but she’s had to battle a lot of things outside the octagon. I believe that Namajunas is the better fighter between the two, but Andrade’s raw power can change any fight at any time. We will wait to predict this fight when we do our preview, but it’s a fight that fans should be looking forward to on July 11th.