Michelle “the Karate Hottie” Waterson took on “Thug” Rose Namajunas in the co-main event of the stacked UFC on Fox 24 "Johnson vs. Reis", which took place inside Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, tonight (Sat., April 15, 2017).
6th-ranked Michelle Waterson was coming off a high-profile win over Paige VanZant, while Rose, ranked 4th in the division, was looking to bounce back from a close decision loss to top contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The winner would have a good claim on a title shot against the winner of Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade.
Michelle opened with a front leg side kick, aiming at the knee of Namajunas. She doubled up on it and landed to the face of Namajunas. Rose dove into the clinch, and Waterson threw her with the same judo toss she used on Paige VanZant. Namajunas, however, hooked her leg, waited out the headlock and took Waterson’s back. She put Waterson in a full nelson and then transitioned to top position, inside Waterson’s guard. Waterson locked up a rubber guard, 10th Planet style. Namajunas postured up and landed a hard elbow, then some hard ground and pound. Waterson pivoted for an armbar, but Namajunas shut it down. Waterson seized an opening and got back to her feet. She timed a couple push-kicks to the leg of Waterson, stumbling her. Rose chased her after an exchange and hit a nice right hand. Namajunas landed a takedown from the clinch to end the round on top.
Waterson whiffed on a spin kick as Namajunas taunted by slapping her lead leg, referencing those knee-jamming kicks from round one. Namajunas landed a leg kick, then dropped Waterson with a hard head kick counter as Waterson tried to exit an exchange in that side-on stance, with hands down. Although rocked, Waterson looked to snag a submission as Namajunas landed hard ground and pound from the top, then locked up a desperate rubber guard lockdown to stop the onslaught. Waterson tried to get back to her feet, but Namajunas transitioned to her back and clamped on her like a backpack as she stood. Namajunas clamped on a brutal rear-naked choke and Waterson flopped to her back. One of Michelle’s hands was trapped, and her desperate attempt to fight the choke with one hand was thwarted when Rose switched to a short choke under the chin. Waterson valiantly looked for a way out, but there was none, and she tapped the floor to end the fight. What an amazing finish by Rose Namajunas!
She calls out the winner of Jedrzejczyk and Andrade, and that seems a fight she could very well receive after this excellent performance.
Official result: Rose Namajunas def. Michelle Waterson by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:47 of round 2.
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