Carla Esparza Tops Rose Namajunas For Strawweight Title in Low-Level MatchupCarla Esparza dominates in the clinch with her takedowns‚ but does she have the power to finish? In this matchup‚ I'll discuss the two women's grappling and the takedowns they both land. Unlike Namajunas‚ Esparza's takedown accuracy is not as good as expected. I also go over the reasons why Namajunas was able to submit Esparza‚ and how she can counter the clinch and end the fight.
Carla Esparza takes down Rose NamajunasRose Namajunas was a dominant striker in her last fight‚ but she has struggled in her recent MMA bouts‚ and Esparza won't be able to match that effort against the champion. Namajunas is a much better striker than Esparza‚ and the Mexican grappler's wrestling advantage will be too much to handle in a low-level matchup. The two-time UFC champions are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the strawweight division. Rose Namajunas has only once been tapped out‚ and her two title reigns were short-lived. Rose's first title reign ended abruptly at UFC 237‚ when Jessica Andrade dropped her onto the canvas. She bounced back nicely‚ though‚ by defeating Andrade in their rematch at UFC 251. She also took down Zhang Weili and Esparza twice last year. Despite losing the strawweight title eight years ago‚ Rose Namajunas was determined to retain her title in the UFC women's strawweight division. She fought patiently and landed solid strikes on her way to victory. But Namajunas had a plan‚ and she had the right strategy. The former champion had the upper hand in her striking department‚ and she landed low leg kicks throughout the fight‚ enabling her to stay on her feet and dominate her opponent. The fight begins with Namajunas trying to land a left hook‚ which Esparza counters. She lands a knee to the body‚ but Namajunas has no more shots to land. Namajunas was booed‚ and Esparza was forced to take action against her. With a second-round submission‚ she has now defended her title for a second time.
Esparza dominates with takedownsAfter taking down Namajunas in the opening round‚ Esparza was able to quickly recover and attack with devastating shots from the top position. With less than three minutes remaining‚ she reversed the takedown and fired off ground strikes. After she got into mount position‚ she locked in a choke to secure the win. Namajunas was left stunned in the aftermath and was booed by the crowd. In this fight‚ the two grapplers are a matchup for the title belt‚ and the second round was dominated by the first takedown. In the third round‚ Esparza dominated with takedowns. She worked patiently to take down Namajunas‚ but Namajunas found it too difficult to get into Esparza's range. While Namajunas had her moments‚ Esparza consistently landed solid strikes and landed low leg kicks. Although her takedown accuracy was lower than expected for a high-level grappler‚ Esparza made up for her missing shots with the frequency of her submission attempts. Although she's inconsistent in her takedowns‚ the Cookie Monster has made great progress in the ground and pound department. During the fight‚ she scored three takedowns‚ a record that stands out among women in the low strawweight division. Rose Namajunas has a great reach advantage over Esparza‚ but she's risky if she tries to get down by the opponent. Esparza specializes in body kicks‚ but Namajunas can also catch Rose on one leg and secure a submission. However‚ Esparza's aggressive style will be more effective if she sets up kicks to the head and legs‚ and she'll avoid getting knocked down by a kick.
Esparza's takedown accuracy is lower than expectedAlthough her takedown accuracy is below average for a strawweight champion‚ it is not an issue in and of itself. This is not to say that Esparza will not land takedowns. While her accuracy is below par‚ she compensates for this by consistently closing the distance‚ shooting takedowns and finishing her opponents. While her takedown accuracy is lower than expected for a strawweight title holder‚ it still places her fourth among the active 115-pounders. Esparza is a more accurate takedown artist than most observers have assumed. She is prone to opening cuts and misses knees‚ and has been accused of looking for the finish while executing a takedown. Rose must avoid giving up free takedowns in order to win the strawweight title. Namajunas needs to capitalize on opportunities to land elbows and knees in the clinch. Namajunas's striking ability is superior at all ranges and she can make Esparza pay if she gets bridged. Namajunas favors cross-stepping leg kicks and strikes from the end of her stride. These moves can drive her opponents back onto the cage and into the clinch. In addition to her superior striking ability‚ Namajunas's takedown accuracy is below what many observers expected.
Esparza's grappling abilityIt's not surprising that Carla Esparza's grappling has topped Namajunas's in the octagon. The two have fought each other before‚ but Namajunas won the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 20 and has been a top contender in the women's strawweight division. Namajunas' grappling hasn't been quite as impressive in her previous fights‚ but her superior wrestling is what makes her stand out. The former strawweight champion is on a five-fight winning streak. She was the first strawweight champion‚ but failed to defend her title. Now she aims to make her name one of the best in the world. Her current title rival‚ Rose Namajunas‚ is looking to avenge her loss to Esparza in the first place. With these odds‚ Rose is well on her way to making a successful comeback. After defeating Namajunas‚ Esparza is now a contender to top Namajunas for the strawweight title. Namajunas‚ who won two out of three fights against Esparza‚ is a former professional wrestler and UFC fighter. The former champion has been ranked No. 1 in the world in women's MMA for six years. The official statistics show that Namajunas landed more strikes than Esparza‚ but both women struggled to take control of their opponents. Namajunas‚ who started her career as a wrestler‚ has improved her striking. She has added technical striking and power to her arsenal and won by a unanimous decision. For the title‚ however‚ neither women is good enough.
Esparza's takedown accuracyThe UFC strawweight champion has 42 takedowns in her UFC career‚ and that is the highest number in the division. She spends a little more than 30 percent of her fights in top position‚ a good sign. However‚ she is prone to getting taken down and not absorbing many major strikes. This is not to say that she isn't dangerous. Although her takedown accuracy isn't as impressive as her striking‚ she compensates for it with her striking power and frequency. In the first round‚ she scores a single leg takedown‚ but is unable to stay on the mat. Namajunas responds with a powerful right hand‚ and Esparza loses her position. While it's true that she has improved her ground and pound since her last fight‚ she still has a long way to go. In her last matchup against Rose Namajunas‚ Esparza was nearly unbeatable when it comes to takedown accuracy. She went 5-for-7 on takedown attempts‚ while Namajunas' opponents only scored four takedowns over her next 10 fights. While Namajunas is only 29 years old‚ Esparza is on the wrong side of her prime. Namajunas' striking numbers are superior‚ but Esparza's wrestler-heavy game will make this a close fight. Namajunas has a better striking style‚ but Esparza's takedown accuracy will be important if she's to win the title. It's difficult to predict who will take the low strawweight title‚ but if she wins‚ it's likely to be a unanimous decision.
Esparza's takedown accuracy against NamajunasOn the feet‚ Namajunas is a better matchup than Esparza. The UFC featherweight champion is better at securing submissions‚ and she has knockout victories over Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Esparza's takedown accuracy against Namajunas is a question mark‚ as she may be vulnerable to open cuts. She must avoid free takedowns and make the most of every opportunity to get an armbar. Although the fight has been advertised as a matchup between two ranked fighters‚ neither is particularly good at executing takedowns. Namajunas has been able to improve her takedown accuracy and has been getting more aggressive in her fights. She managed to defend five of 11 attempts from Zhang‚ and she was able to escape back to her feet numerous times. Despite her recent struggles‚ Namajunas has performed admirably in the championship rounds. While Namajunas' decision win against Esparza is somewhat controversial‚ she has tape of the matchup. She's also 100 percent healthy‚ and she's never fought a third round. In this fight‚ Esparza will need to stand for a good portion of the fight. Her slow movement and undersized frame make it difficult to take down her opponent and stand. This will frustrate her and make her more vulnerable to strikes. This will likely lead to a larger disparity in striking than in the first fight. In other words‚ Rose is the better fighter in this matchup.
The rematch is now! Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza run it back for strawweight gold next in the #UFC274 co-headliner.
Play-by-play: https://t.co/lTwXxZpBIZ pic.twitter.com/fqU4TiCYjJ — MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) May 8, 2022