Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
A couple of minutes after gorgeous Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the UFC strawweight title, Rose Namajunas nonetheless could not fairly consider what she’d completed.
“It feels like a movie right now,” Namajunas informed colour commentator Joe Rogan contained in the Octagon after the particulars had been introduced and UFC President Dana White had slung the title over her shoulder.
She was not alone.
Namajunas’ first-round stoppage of Jedrzejczyk on Saturday at UFC 217 despatched shockwaves by means of the MMA world. Namajunas had come to their bout at Madison Square Garden as the largest underdog on the pay-per-view card, whereas Jedrzejczyk was ensconced as one of many combat firm’s most dominant champions.
But all it took was three minutes, three seconds to show all that on its head.
THAT LEFT HOOK THO!!!
@RoseNamajunas #UFC217 https://t.co/bxo33yzSLi
Namajunas shocked Jedrzejczyk within the stand-up sport early, dropping her to the canvas with a jab-cross mixture roughly two minutes into the opening stanza of their combat. That time, Jedrzejczyk was capable of get again to her toes, squirming away from Namajunas’ floor badault and utilizing the cage to face up.
When Namajunas caught her once more lower than a minute later, Jedrzejczyk was not so fortunate.
It was a charging left hook that put the champ down for good. As Jedrzejczyk crumpled face-first on the mat in opposition to the fence, Namajunas poured on strikes from the highest, in the end forcing her opponent to faucet out from the punishment.
Namajunas forces Jedrzejczyk to faucet from strikes.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
The consequence was surprising for a few causes.
First, as a result of Jedrzejczyk had rapidly established herself as a UFC fan favourite and the category of the group’s 115-pound division. This was to be her sixth consecutive title protection, which might have moved her right into a tie with Ronda Rousey for probably the most profitable defenses of all time for a girls’s champion.
She had jetted by means of a collection of earlier challengers that included one of the best contenders the strawweight division might supply. She defeated a smattering of strikers and grapplers whereas demonstrating a unusual, off-beat private fashion and a singular viciousness that set her wholly aside on the planet of ladies’s MMA.
Secondly, if Namajunas was thought to have any probability in any respect in opposition to Jedrzejczyk, it wasn’t alleged to be within the hanging division.
Since coming to the UFC in 2014, Jedrzejczyk’s bread and butter had been her technical and lethal correct kickboxing sport. By distinction, Namajunas’ expertise—whereas maybe higher rounded—weren’t regarded as as sharp in that space.
Most anticipated Namajunas to attempt to floor Jedrzejczyk—to place her on the mat and try outgrapple her en path to a submission.
Instead, she beat the champion at her personal sport.
Wesley Riddle @AllThatMMA
Rose Namajunas knocking out Joanna Jedrzejczyk is an even bigger upset, IMO, than Holly Holm knocking out Ronda Rousey.
MMA On Point @OnPointMMA
Still cannot recover from that Rose made Joanna faucet to strikes. MMA is so unpredictable. Absolutely insane stuff right here. #UFC217
Chamatkar Sandhu @SandhuMMA
As emphatic of a efficiency as this was by Rose, contemplating Joanna was simply handed her first loss ever you gotta do the rematch. #UFC217
Jedrzejczyk had been brimming with confidence main as much as the combat. She taunted Namajunas all through their pre-fight media obligations, even urgent her fist flippantly in opposition to Namajunas’ face throughout the weigh-in.
When it was over, Namajunas indicated she hoped to strike a special tone together with her personal title reign.
“In many ways, Joanna showed me how to be a champion but also showed me how not to behave as a champion,” she stated in an official UFC launch. “I hope tonight changed some of her opinions about me.”
Namajunas walks to the cage at UFC 217.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
This was Namajunas’ second time combating for the UFC title.
Her first probability got here within the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Season 20, when she misplaced to Carla Esparza by way of third-round submission. At the time, Namajunas was simply 22 years outdated and making her official Octagon debut after simply shy of two years as an expert fighter.
Three months later, Jedrzejczyk defeated Esparza to grow to be champion. Meanwhile, Namajunas went Four-1 throughout her subsequent 5 fights, reclaiming No. 1 contender standing with a second-round submission of Michelle Waterson in April.
During her second crack at UFC gold, Namajunas was to not be denied, although it didn’t look that manner main as much as the combat.
She hadn’t responded to a lot of Jedrzejczyk’s trash speak on the media occasions. On combat night time, Namajunas regarded nervous throughout her stroll to the cage, and her hand visibly shook as UFC PA announcer Bruce Buffer made her official introduction.
As the 2 met within the middle of the cage for his or her last referee directions, Jedrzejczyk crept proper up in Namajunas’ face. When they separated, Namajunas appeared to shove her away.
Jedrzejczyk will get in Namajunas’ face earlier than the bout.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
The nervousness appeared to evaporate as quickly because the combat began, with Namajunas touchdown an excellent low kick and a counter left hand within the early going. Jedrzejczyk additionally let unfastened with a few of her personal trademark ferocious mixtures, however Namajunas was not flustered.
She continued to press ahead and convey the motion to the champion till lastly forcing the stoppage.
Where the 2 fighters go from right here is anybody’s finest guess.
Jedrzejczyk had been so good and common as champion that an instantaneous rematch might be within the offing. She has additionally talked about shifting as much as girls’s flyweight when that division turns into a full-time addition to the UFC’s roster on Dec. 1.
With Namajunas as champion, strawweight’s prime contenders—who had been picked off one after the other throughout Jedrzejczyk’s reign—will all get pleasure from new life. Jessica Andrade’s victory over Claudia Gadelha in September solidified her standing as No. 1 contender.
As the one girl to beat Namajunas since her loss to Esparza in December 2014, Karolina Kowalkiewicz might additionally make an excellent case. She took out Namajunas by way of cut up choice at UFC 201, and after back-to-back losses to Jedrzejczyk and Gadleha, she bounced again with a victory over Jodie Esquibel on Oct. 21.
Smart cash could also be on a rematch, nevertheless, as Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk nonetheless comprise the UFC’s best-known and best-liked 115-pound feminine fighters.