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UFC on FOX 24 results from last night: Rose Namajunas vs Michelle Waterson fight recap

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Namajunas vs Waterson Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight grapplers Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson collided last night (April 15, 2017) at UFC on FOX 24 inside Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Namajunas has been a top contender since the very start of her UFC career. She may have lost her most recent fight, but Namajunas was nevertheless in a position to earn a title shot last night. On the other hand, Waterson was a proven commodity at 105 pounds ... not Strawweight. Her first two fights went a long way in proving her contender status, and this bout was the final test necessary for her to earn her own chance at gold.

After several quick exchanges on the feet, Waterson landed a slick head-and-arm throw. However, Namajunas quickly reacted by hooking a leg, which allowed her to transition into the back mount briefly before ultimately landing in Waterson’s guard.

From her back, Waterson looked to play rubber guard. It succeeded in containing her opponent for a moment, but Namajunas soon was able to posture up and drop a series of brutal elbows. The two transitioned between the clinch and stand up for the final minute, but it continued to be Namajunas who landed the hardest blows.

Despite a lot of close exchanges, “Karate Hottie” walked back to her corner wearing the damage.

Waterson opened up the second round with a lot of side kicks, looking to halt her opponent’s forward pressure. It worked for a bit, but Namajunas later caught her out of position following a kick, which allowed Namajunas to follow up with a combination punctuated by a brutal high kick.

Waterson went limp and fell to the mat before somehow recovering once hitting the mat. Namajunas pursued and continued to smash her opponent with ground strikes, but Waterson eventually was able to slow the pace and recover. Waterson then attempted to work to her feet, but Namajunas leaped onto the back and immediately locked in a rear naked choke.

In what was a close fight according to the odds, “Thug Rose” utterly dominated.

It became clear pretty early in the fight that Namajunas was simply the more dangerous fighter. On the feet, Waterson was flicking out kicks, but her opponent simply kept walking past them. When Namajunas did connect on her punches, the impact was much more obvious.

Similarly, Namajunas dominated on the mat from the first exchange. After getting on top, she proved herself more physical, wrenching out of her opponent’s grip and dropping devastating elbows. In each exchange, Namajunas size and ability to damage wore down on Waterson, who was forced to focus on keeping her foe at bay more than anything else.

Aside from that edge in physicality, Namajunas overall game has never looked better. The high kick was a glorious moment of Namajunas’ opportunistic attack. Similarly, Namajunas jumped — quite literally — on a small moment to land in back mount and force the finish.

She’s ready for her title shot.

It’s unfortunate that Waterson had to come up short here, but it’s not entirely unexpected. The former Atomweight queen has been bullied before at her home weight class, and that’s a problem unlikely to get an easier at 115 lbs.

From a technical perspective, Waterson simply never got anything going. She landed some good side kicks, but that positioning eventually led her to eating a high kick. She also scored that slick toss, but again it was reversed before long.

Waterson will have to head back to the drawing board.

Last night at UFC on FOX 24, Rose Namajunas dominated her opponent en route to a submission stoppage. Can ‘Thug Rose’ capture the title?

For complete UFC on FOX 24: “Johnson vs Reis” results and live play-by-play, click HERE!

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