Coming out of this season of The Ultimate Fighter, Rose Namajunas was an easy fighter to root for. She had a good backstory, a great personality and a style that is very enjoyable to watch. But she is young and without the kind of experience and grappling game to hold off a veteran with great wrestling like Carla Esparza.
That wrestling game is what allowed Esparza to become the first ever UFC women’s strawweight champion.
The first round was competitive, but seemed to still belong to Esparza, who scored a few takedowns but was unable to hold Namajunas down. On the feet things were a bit more even, but Esparza’s selectivity with her strikes led to some well landed bombs while Namajunas was more of a blur of activity but didn’t land too much by way of solid strikes.
By round two Esparza was fully in control. She was scoring takedowns seemingly at will and Namajunas did little off her back to pose a threat. Esparza mounted at the end of the round and came close to a finish butt couldn’t.
In the third it was more of the same, except this time Esparza ended up taking the back and sinking in the rear naked choke that got her the win.
The submission came at 1:26 of round three and won Esparza UFC gold.
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