Bold Prediction Shared for ‘Thug’ Rose Namjunas’ UFC 274 Battle

Rose Namajunas

Getty Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas is set to rematch Carla Esparza on Saturday night, and Michael Bisping is predicting that “Thug Rose” will leave the Octagon with her belt.

Namajunas will look to make her second consecutive title defense during the UFC 274 co-main event on May 7 at the Footprint Center in Pheonix, Arizona.

Thug Rose and Esparza initially met back in 2014 when they competed for the inaugural 115-pound belt following “The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned.”

Thug Rose entered the cage as a 2-1 professional whereas the more experienced “Cookie Monster” was 9-2. It was a tough fight for Namajunas, who faltered under the ground game of Esparza.

Esparza became the first-ever UFC strawweight champion by submitting Namajunas with a third-round rear-naked choke. Fast forward over seven years and the two are scheduled to do battle again.

This time, Namajunas (11-4) is a proven UFC champion with a lot more experience as a fighter. Esparza, who lost the belt to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the fight after her Namajunas victory, is currently ranked No. 2 in the division. Cookie Monster (18-6) is riding the momentum of a five-fight winning streak and has firmly established herself as a deserving title challenger.


Bisping Sees Thug Rose Stopping Esparza in the Third Round

Bisping recently gave his take on the fight during BT Sport’s UFC 274 preview show. In short, Bisping thinks Thug Rose has the tools to earn vengeance over Esparza.

“Look at what Rose Namajunas has done, what she’s become,” Bisping said via BJPenn.com. “I mean, she is poetry in motion, I love watching her fight. I love the footwork, I love the striking, I love the mental approach, the composure. Everything that you want to see from a fighter, Rose Namajunas has… Carla Esparza, she’s gotta do what she did the first time. She’s gotta rely on the wrestling, that’s the way she does it… She has got that wrestling, she has got that equalizer. If she can take her down and control her, it could be a very tough night at the office.”

Although Bisping is aware that Esparza could find success in the wrestling department as she did in their first outing, he expects to see Thug Rose leave the Octagon as champion.

“Namajunas, as I said, on the feet, is poetry in motion… With Trevor Wittman, who’s one of the best strategic minds in the sport, they’re gonna come up with the perfect game plan… I got Rose Namajunas winning, I think it’s gonna be a stoppage. We’ll say round number tres (three),” Bisping said.


Thug Rose Has Been the 115-Pound Champion on Two Different Occasions

Namajunas has only tasted defeat twice since losing to Esparza in 2014. She carved out a three-fight victory run after her attempt at becoming the strawweight queen. Her momentum was briefly stopped, however, after suffering a split decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in 2016.

Thug Rose bounced back by submitting Michael Waterson, which earned her a shot at gold against then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. To the shock of most, Namajunas starched the Polish fighter in the first round at UFC 217 in November 2017, becoming the undisputed 115-pound champion.

She defended the belt once by beating Jedrzejczyk in an instant rematch before dropping it to Jessica Andrade via a KO slam.

Namajunas received a rematch against Andrade for her next bout, after Andrade had been dethroned by Zhang Weili. Thug Rose bested the Brazilian by split decision, and then followed the win up by recapturing gold by taking out “Magnum” via first-round KO.

Thug Rose drew Zhang once again and beat her by split decision at UFC 268 in November.

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