The long-awaited rematch between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza finally has a date.
Sports Illustrated broke the news earlier today (Weds., March 16, 2022) that the women’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight title will be on the line in the co-main event of UFC 274 on May 7, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Esparza (18-6) became the first woman to capture the 115-pound crown at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 in Dec. 2014. To do so, she bested a young and inexperienced Namajunas, who was only 2-1 at the time (Esparza being 10-2).
Nearly one decade later and the tables are turned, with Namajunas the champion and Esparza the challenger. Currently, amid her second reign as a titleholder, “Thug” first captured the belt in Nov. 2017 at UFC 217 with a stunning upset knockout of Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the first round (watch highlights). Several months later and Namajunas successfully defended in her rematch with Jedrzejczyk (watch highlights) before dropping the title to Jessica Andrade in May 2019 (watch highlights). She reclaimed the belt this past year with yet another first-round stunner when knocking out Zhang Weili in 78 seconds at UFC 261 (watch highlights). Again, she defended in their immediate rematch later in the year.
Esparza, on the other hand, is on the best run of her UFC career since she was champion, having won five straight fights with wins over the likes of Marina Rodriguez, Yan Xiaonan, Alexa Grasso and former Invicta Fighting Championship champions Michelle Waterson and Virna Jandiroba.
The addition of the bout gives the card two championship bouts in total. Check out UFC 274’s latest fight card below:
- Lightweight - (C)Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje
- Strawweight - (C)Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza
- Lightweight: Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson
- Light Heavyweight - Maurício Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux
- Lightweight: Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon
- Heavyweight - Blagoy Ivanov vs. Marcos Rogério de Lima
- Featherweight - Macy Chiasson vs. Norma Dumont
- Welterweight - Randy Brown vs. Khaos Williams
- Welterweight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Danny Roberts
- Flyweight - Brandon Royval vs. Matt Schnell
- Strawweight: Ariane Carnelossi vs. Lupita Godinez
- Flyweight: C.J. Vergara vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
- Bantamweight - Journey Newson vs. Fernie Garcia
- Lightweight: Michael Johnson vs. Alan Patrick
- Flyweight: Tracy Cortez vs. Melissa Gatto
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