After winning strawweight title at UFC 274, what’s next for Carla Esparza?

This past Saturday at UFC 274, the strawweight title was on the line in a rematch from the innagural strawweight title fight. The rematch featured Rose Namajunas (11-5) taking on Carla Esparza (19-6).

Back in 2014, Esparza submitted Namajunas to become the first ever UFC strawweight champion. Immediately in 2015, Esparza dropped the title and she’s been scratching and clawing her way back since then.

Namajunas went on to become one of the best female pound-for-pound fighters in the world and became the first two-time champion. Esparza was trying to become a two-time champion herself at UFC 274.

While many were hyped for the fight, the fight fell well short of expectations. I mean let’s call it like it is, the fight absolutely sucked on Saturday. Throughout the course of five rounds, we mainly saw Namajunas circling on the outside and throwing feints.

Meanwhile Esparza would at least try to engage, but was ineffective for the most part. That said, she did get a couple of brief takedowns which swung a couple of rounds. Those proved to be pivotal as the night ended in a split decision. When the scorecards were read, Carla Esparza was declared the winner and the new UFC strawweight champion.

What’s next after UFC 274?

Fights like Saturday night are why MMA is the most exciting and unpredictable sport in the world. Rose Namajunas is a combined 5-1 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Zhang Weili, and Jessica Andrade. Yet, she is now 0-2 against Carla Esparza.

That is just wild to me. I’m really not trying to disrespect Esparza, but I don’t believe she’s better than any of the three contenders listed in Namajunas’ resume. Yet, she’s defeated Thug Rose twice and now she’s the UFC strawweight champion for a second time.

So, what’s next for the champ? Well, Dana White hinted at it at the post-fight press conference on Saturday night. Next month, Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be rematching at UFC 275.

Whoever wins that fight is likely getting the next title shot. Marina Rodriguez is another contender with an outside chance, but I don’t see that happening. In my opinion, I think Rodriguez and Andrade might get paired up next.

So what about the former champion in Namajunas? Well, Thug Rose is 0-2 and after that last fight, nobody is asking for the rematch. Namajunas will need another win before she gets a crack at becoming a three-time UFC champion.

After huge knockout win at UFC 274, what’s next for Michael Chandler?

MMA, UFC, michael chandler

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 274, we saw a matchup between two top lightweight contenders who really needed a win. Former interim UFC champion Tony Ferguson (25-7) was trying to avoid a fourth straight loss as he took on former title challenger Michael Chandler (23-7).

This fight promised action and it didn’t disappoint. In the opening part of the first round, it was El Cucuy that took charge. Ferguson was able to briefly drop Chandler with a quick check hook and he spent the majority of the first round stalking Chandler.

Chandler was swinging wild with power punches after getting hurt, but nothing was really landing on Ferguson. Then, Chandler decided to switch to his wrestling used a power double-leg to take down the former UFC interim champion.

However, Ferguson was comfortable on his back and started slicing Chandler up with elbows. Chandler landed some good shots, but Ferguson likely took the first round. Ferguson was smiling in between rounds, but that smile would quickly fade.

Just seconds into the second round, Chandler pushed forward and caught Ferguson flush with front kick to the face. In one of the more devastating knockouts you’ll ever see, Ferguson crumbled to the ground and Chandler picked up his second win in the UFC.

What’s next after UFC 274?

After the knockout win, Chandler showed off his promo skills once again at UFC 274. He took the stage to call out the guys in the main event and he also called out “The Notorious” Conor McGregor for a fight at 170 pounds.

That potential fight is one that Dana White said he liked at the UFC 274 post-fight press conference. However, there’s another fight that’s materialized in the last day or so that might come together rather quickly.

Nate Diaz has been calling for a fight for a while now. The UFC has kept him on ice hoping to book him against either Conor McGregor or Khamzat Chimaev. Diaz just wants to fight and he called for a fight with Chandler at 170 pounds.

Chandler has already said he’s game and that could be a fight that they decide to make. I’m confident in saying that Chandler will be facing one of the following three next: Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, or Dustin Poirier.

While he didn’t call out Poirier at UFC 274, I don’t think anyone would turn down watching that fight. If the Diaz or McGregor fights don’t come together, I’m expecting The Diamond to be the next opponent for Iron Mike.

Who will be next for Charles Oliveira after UFC 274?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 274, Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) was supposed to defend his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje (23-4). However, Oliveira weighed in just .5 pounds over the 155 pound limit and as a result, he was stripped of his UFC title.

Oliveira became the first champion in the history of the promotion to lose his title on the scale. That being said, the fight still went forward and Gaethje had a chance to become champion. Oliveira had a chance to keep himself as number one and fight for the vacant title next.

The fight started out crazy at UFC 274. In the opening seconds, Oliveira seemingly wobbled Gaethje with a big shot over the top. Then, when things got crazy in close, Gaethje was able to hurt and drop Oliveira.

Gaethje hurt Oliveira again later in the round, but I think Oliveira fell to his back on purpose. Oliveira also pulled guard during one of the clinch exchanges. The UFC 274 main event was back and forth and then everything changed just halfway through the round.

Oliveira blasted Gaethje with a right hand that set him down. Immediately, Oliveira jumped on him looking for a submission. Gaethje forced a scramble only to give up his back. Oliveira locked in the rear naked choke and Gaethje was forced to tap.

What’s next after UFC 274?

Let’s be very clear, Charles Oliveira is the best lightweight in the UFC and it’s not close at the moment. He also was essentially screwed at the weigh-ins last Friday. Now before you go crazy, hear me out.

We’ve seen champions over the years be given a ton of grace on the scales. Look at Khabib’s weigh-in for UFC 254 and tell me with a straight face that he was 155 pounds. He was 100% over and was given grace by the guy manning the scale.

Unfortunately for the former UFC champion, he was given no grace and had a stickler manning the scale. So because of that and .5 pounds, Oliveira is not the UFC lightweight champion although the public rightfully views him as the champion.

So who should be next for Oliveira? Well, there seems to be the most heat surrounding a fight between him and Islam Makhachev. While that could be the leading candidate, it’s not a forgone conclusion.

As crazy as it sounds, Conor McGregor could very well be in the discussion and we know Oliveira wants that fight. If I was to guess, I think the UFC moves forward with Islam Makhachev. But with Conor McGregor looming, you truly never know.

After coming up short at UFC 274, what’s next for Justin Gaethje?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 274, Justin Gaethje (23-4) had his chance to become the undisputed lightweight champion. To do that, he had to face the man who entered the octagon with the title, Charles Oliveira (33-8).

Now, Oliveira missed weight by .5 pounds so he was stripped of his UFC lightweight title ahead of the main event. That said, Justin Gaethje still had his chance to become champion, he just needed to defeat Oliveira.

This fight was crazy from the opening seconds. Oliveira came across the octagon and was blasted by a leg kick from Gaethje. However, Oliveira landed a couple of shots that seemingly rocked Gaethje.

Then, Gaethje rocked the former UFC champion twice including dropping him clean. However, Oliveira remained calm and composed. Later on in the first round, Oliveira blasted Gaethje with a right that sent him down.

The challenger had his back taken and Oliveira locked in the choke. Gaethje was forced to tap and once again came up short in his quest to become undisputed UFC champion.

What’s next after UFC 274?

With the title loss at UFC 274, Gaethje dropped to 5-3 in his last eight fights inside the octagon. Now, it’s worth noting that the three losses came against Oliveira, Khabib, and Dustin Poirier so he’s only lost to the best of the best.

The question now becomes what will the UFC do with Gaethje next? Let’s be clear, The Highlight is still one of the very best lightweights in the world. Losing to Charles Oliveira doesn’t hurt his stock, it just proves once again that Oliveira is the best in the world.

There are plenty of entertaining fights for Gaethje inside the octagon. One fight that I would love to see is a rematch with Dustin Poirier. Poirier and Gaethje had. war back in 2018 and both are coming off losses to Oliveira. Seems like a good time to pair them back up.

I don’t think anyone would mind seeing a rematch with Michael Chandler, but I don’t think that’s in the cards for the UFC. Another option could be a fight with Conor McGregor. McGregor and Gaethje have had some back and forth for a while, and this could be a great fight to book for McGregor’s return.

After losing her title at UFC 274, what’s next for Rose Namajunas?

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.

Oliveira still the best but not the champ after submitting Gaethje at UFC 274

In the main event of UFC 274 the lightweight title was supposed to be up for grabs and it still was for one man. The undisputed champion Charles Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC) was taking on “The Highlight” Justin Gaethje (23-3).

Now, the title was only on the line for Gaethje and Oliveira was forced to vacate the title upon the start of UFC 274. Yesterday at the weigh-ins, Oliveira came in at 155.5 pounds. In a championship fight, you are not allowed any extra weight and Oliveira couldn’t make it.

As a result, he became the first champion in UFC to lose the title on the scale. Now, there was still a lot on the line for him tonight. If he was able to beat Gaethje, he would be in line to fight for the vacant title in his next fight. However, Justin Gaethje was looking to capture undisputed gold.

Last time we saw Gaethje was back at UFC 268 when he fought Michael Chandler. The two men went to war and Gaethje was able to win a decision that earned him this title shot. That win came on the heels of his title loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Overall, Gaethje is 5-1 in his last six and 6-3 in his nine UFC appearances. He’s been an interim champion, however, he’s never been able to capture undisputed gold and he was looking to do that tonight.

UFC 274 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 274 main event started out with a touch of the gloves. Oliveira starting with the pressure and eats a big leg kick. However, Oliveira lands a big shot over the top and Gaethje looks wobbled. Gaethje wobbled again from Oliveira and then Gaethje puts him down.

Crazy action in the opening minute. Another huge shot from Gaethje and down goes Oliveira. Gaethje welcomes him back to the feet. Oliveira right back to being aggressive despite getting hurt early.

Big shots from Oliveira and the pace slows a little. They clinch and Oliveira pulls guard. Immediately Gaethje gets back to the feet and they are striking. Nice right straight lands for Oliveira and Gaethje falls trying to throw a wild right.

Huge right hand from Oliveira and down goes Gaethje. Oliveira immediately on the back of Gaethje and he’s attacking the submissions. Gaethje tries to roll but Oliveira gets his back. Locks in the rear naked choke and this one is over. Charles Oliveira is still the best UFC lightweight in the world.

Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1

Carla Esparza edges Rose Namajunas in major snoozefest at UFC 274

In the co-main event of UFC 274 we saw a rematch of the very first strawweight title fight in the promotion’s history. The champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas (11-4) was looking to avenge her earlier loss when she faced 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.

UFC 274 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 274 strawweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Namajunas circles on the outside as Esparza inches her way to the center of the octagon. Esparza throwing some feints but neither fighter has thrown anything in the opening minute.

Esparza tries a superman punch that falls short of the mark. Namajunas continues to circle and gauge the range. Two minutes in and not a single strike has been landed thus far. Esparza tries a combination, but again, well short of the mark.

Namajunas continues to circle, but nothing being thrown and the boos are starting. Esparza comes forward and lands a left hook to land the first shot of the fight. Namajunas responds with a jab. One minute left in the round and the crowd isn’t pleased at the moment.

Sloppy striking attempts from Esparza then she rushes in. Nothing lands and Namajunas lands a jab. Esparza tries to throw again, but nothing lands. The round ends and the crowd boos like crazy. No idea who wins that round at UFC 274.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 274 and we have to see some action here. The second starts and Esparza tries with a 1-2, but doesn’t land. Namajunas started to wave Esparza in trying to get her to come closer to engage.

Esparza gets deep on an entry for a takedown and gets Namajunas down for a second, but Namajunas is right back up and separates. Two minutes into the round and so far, both fighters have landed four total strikes.

Namajunas attempts to throw her jab, but it’s Esparza that lands a nice left hook. 90 seconds left in the round and nothing is happening. Esparza again tries to work her way in but nothing lands. Namajunas lands a left straight. Low kick from Esparza. The round ends and I think Esparza is up at UFC 274.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 274 and that might have been the most uneventful two rounds of a title fight in history. Namajunas opens the second round throwing jabs to the body, but nothing lands.

Namajunas tries with a left hook and Esparza looks to counter. Neither really land, but I will say that Namajunas looks more aggressive here. Esparza gets in and gets shrugged off but lands a nice kick to the body.

Takedown from Esparza, but Namajunas gets right back to her feet. Check left hook from Esparza. Another nice left from Esparza and there’s some damage on the nose of Namajunas. Namajunas tries to work her way in and lands a nice uppercut.

Esparza tries for a takedown from too far away but lands a nice knee to the body. Two minutes left in the round and Namajunas lands a nice left straight. Esparza tries blitzing but catches a counter from the champion.

Esparza lands a nice straight shot and Namajunas just misses with the counter. The round comes to a close and again, I have no idea how to score this one. Probably a Namajunas round, but who the hell knows what’s going on at UFC 274.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at UFC 274 and I think Esparza might be a couple of rounds ahead. Namajunas holds the center and lands a nice left hook. Calf kick from Esparza and then she tries for a takedown. However, Namajunas just shrugs her off.

Namajunas tries for a couple of jabs, but she’s too far away to land. Esparza gets a takedown and then jumps on the back of Namajunas. Namajunas shrugs her off and then Esparza lands a nice knee to the body. They break and they are unfortunately back to striking.

Esparza tries for another takedown attempt but can’t land. Namajunas looks for a couple of kicks, but nothing finds it’s home. Namajunas lands a couple of nice strikes but then Esparza gets in and slams her to the ground.

Namajunas rolls and uses it to break the position. Big right hand on the way up from the champion. Both fighters land jabs and there’s thirty seconds left in the round. The round comes to a close and we head to the final round and Esparza might be up on the scorecards at UFC 274.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 274 and whoever wins this round likely wins the fight but who the hell knows. Both fighters are throwing in the opening minute, but nothing close to landing. Body kicks exchanged by both.

Namajunas lands a nice right hand over the top. Namajunas comes in but eats a clean counter left hook from the challenger. Esparza holding the center as Namajunas circles on the outside. Leg kick from Esparza.

Blitz from Esparza and she lands a glancing left. Halfway through the final round and this one is rough to watch. Nice connection from Namajunas and then she lands a 1-2, but it wasn’t super clean.

Jab attempt from Namajunas just misses. Right straight lands from Namajunas. Final minute and the boos are more entertaining than this fight. Thirty seconds left and Esparza throws a right, but doesn’t come close to landing.

Front kick from Esparza. Namajunas shoots in and lands a takedown in the final seconds. That likely wins the round, but oh boy, these scorecards are going to be interesting.

Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas by Split Decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48)

Michael Chandler knocks Tony Ferguson out cold at UFC 274

On the main card of UFC 274, we saw matchup that fight fans have wanted to see for a very long time. Former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-6) returned to the octagon he took on former title challenger Michael Chandler (22-7).

It’s been a really rough couple of years for Tony Ferguson in the UFC. After Khabib Nurmagomedov was denied entry into the US during the beginning stages of covid, Ferguson lost his title shot and was given an interim title shot with Justin Gaethje.

Ferguson was stopped in that fight and that loss started a downward spiral. In his last two UFC fights, he’s been dominated by Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira. He was looking to recapture some of his El Cucuy magic tonight.

Michael Chandler stormed on the scene in the UFC with a knockout of Dan Hooker. Afterwards, he got a lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira. After dominating Oliveira in the first round, Chandler was stopped early in the second.

He returned in November to face Justin Gaethje at UFC 268. After a strong opening round, Chandler was outstruck in the final two rounds and lost a decision. While he still has high stature in the division, the reality is he’s lost two in a row and needs a win.

UFC 274 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 274 lightweight contest started with no touch of the gloves. Ferguson looks for a low kick and he circles around the outside. Chandler looks very poised here in the opening minute and he pops his jab. Ferguson works his way in with an awkward combination.

Big low kicks from Chandler but both were checked. Both men exchange big left hooks. Sharp hook from Ferguson and down goes Michael Chandler. Chandler pops up immediately but Ferguson stunned him bad. Ferguson stalking Chandler her.

Big shot to the body from Chandler and a nice left hook. Check left from Ferguson lands and Ferguson goes back on the pressure. Another nice left hook from Ferguson wobbles the legs of Chandler. Chandler looking to answer with power, but he’s whiffing badly.

Out of no where Chandler explodes into a double leg and slams Ferguson to the ground. Two minutes left in the round. Ferguson lands a big elbow from the bottom and Chandler is busted open. Ferguson continues to look for attacks off the bottom.

Chandler trying to land big shots, but Ferguson is defending well here. Ferguson tries to attack an arm bar, but gets blasted with a big shot from Chandler. Chandler settles into the guard after landing that big shot.

Ferguson using the fence to try and get back up. Chandler has a decent body lock and drags him back to the ground. Helluva first round at UFC 274 and I give the first to El Cucuy.

Round 2

Entering the second round and despite the end of the round, momentum seems to be with Ferguson at UFC 274. Ferguson takes the center to start the second and Chandler circles on the outside. Out of no where a front kick to the face from Michael Chandler and Ferguson is out cold. Oh my god!

Michael Chandler def. Tony Ferguson by KO – Round 2

UFC 274 Preview: Tony Ferguson – Michael Chandler

Tony Ferguson, UFC

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 274, we will see a matchup that fight fans have wanted to see for a very long time. Former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-6) returns as he takes on former title challenger Michael Chandler (22-7).

For years, Tony Ferguson was the boogey man of the lightweight division. He captured the interim title, but never got his chance at undisputed gold. Whether it be injuries, covid, or poor weight cuts by his opponent, Ferguson always lost out on his chance to become undisputed champ.

In 2020, he fought Justin Gaethje for the interim title. Starting with that fight, the former UFC interim champion has lost three fights in a row. Now, his back is against the wall and he takes on another tough challenge.

Michael Chandler stormed on the scene in the UFC with a knockout of Dan Hooker. Afterwards, he got a lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira. After dominating Oliveira in the first round, Chandler was stopped early in the second.

He returned in November to face Justin Gaethje at UFC 268. After a strong opening round, Chandler was outstruck in the final two rounds and lost a decision. While he still has high stature in the division, the reality is he’s lost two in a row and needs a win.

UFC 274 Prediction

If this fight was a few years ago, I would really like Tony Ferguson actually. Ferguson’s unorthodox striking combined with his cardio and pace would be a few things I could see Chandler struggling with. Imagine a lead elbow catching Chandler on a blitz.

However, this isn’t the same Tony Ferguson that was the UFC interim lightweight champion. We are looking at a guy who has been dominated in three straight fights. He just doesn’t look the same.

Now, maybe tomorrow night we will get the old El Cucuy. However, I’m going with Chandler on this one. The power in the shots and the power wrestling are really going to play and I think he actually will get the stoppage.

Prediction: Michael Chandler by TKO – Round 2

UFC 274 Co-Main Preview: Rose Namajunas – Carla Esparza 2

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