Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back in action last night (Sat., April 7, 2018) as UFC 223 took place inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In the main event of the evening, Khabib Nurmagomedov smothered an dominated Al Iaquinta in a five-round title fight to become the promotion’s undisputed Lightweight champion. In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas retained her women’s Strawweight strap by defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the second time in six months (full recap here).
Biggest Winner: Rose Namajunas
No excuses allowed this time around. Rose Namajunas handled her business against the same former champion she knocked out in the very first round at UFC 217 last November, edging out Joanna after five rounds of action. Indeed, many argue the decision could’ve gone the other way around, but Rose did enough to earn the nod in most everyone’s eyes. After proving her first win over “JJ” wasn’t a fluke or luck, Namajunas can now put the Polish-born striker in her rear-view mirror for a while. With the impressive win, Rose has three straight wins to her credit, and can look forward to fresh challenges moving forward. And it could be against another certain strawweight who scored a huge win in Brooklyn, as well. who just so happens to be “Thug Rose’s” last loss.
Runner Up: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib was the heavy favorite going into his 155-pound title fight against Al Iaquinta, especially since “Ragin’” took the fight on just one days notice. What I find interesting, is that people tend to overlook the fact that Khabib accepted the short-notice fight,as well. Granted, Khabib didn’t care, but he still had to adjust his gameplan, twice, since last week. Now that he’s the official 155-pound king, Khabib has many new challenges moving forward to prove his championship status, especially one against former division champion Conor McGregor, who recently went on a rampage in an attempt to get at Nurmagomedov, in essence ruing UFC 223.
Now, the ball will indeed be in Conor’s court because if he doesn’t sign on the dotted line to fight “The Eagle,” his tempter tantrum will prove it was simply to prove how loud his bark is.
Biggest Loser: Joanna Jedrzejeczyk
After dropping back-to-back defeats to Namajunas, Joanna will have a long road back to a championship fight as long as Rose is holding the strap. A trilogy fight is simply not in the card and won’t until she at least scores two or three big wins. If she wants a title shot sooner, rather than later, she can always move up a weight class. Even then, it won’t be sure thing, as she will also have to score some wins in order to prove her worth in a new division. Nevertheless, like Jon Jones over Daniel Cormier, Max Holloway over Jose Aldo and Chuch Liddell over Tito Ortiz, Rose has proven she has Joanna’s number.
For complete UFC 223: “Khabib vs. Iaquinta” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.