Women’s strawweight contenders Rose Namajunas and Michelle Waterson met in the UFC on FOX 24 co-main event on Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri. Fourth-ranked Namajunas defeated sixth-ranked Waterson via rear-naked choke in the second round.
Waterson was able to toss Namajunas to the ground early in the opening round, but was unable to control the 24-year-old. Namajunas gained top position and delivered punches and elbows. Waterson scrambled back to her feet, but was taken down a second time in the closing seconds of the frame.
Waterson targeted Namajunas’ legs and body with kicks in the beginning of the second round. The two briefly clinched and Namajunas pushed Waterson away and perfectly time a head kick that sent “The Karate Hottie” crashing to the canvas. Namajunas followed her to the ground and took Waterson’s back. She locked on a rear-naked choke and forced Waterson to tap out.
Namajunas said she was surprise at the power Waterson possessed in her striking, but felt that the fight went how she expected.
“I was surprised at the power that Michelle had. My vision is a little messed up right now. She’s tough. Other than that, it was pretty mush how I planned it to go,” she said during her post-fight interview.
With the win, Namajunas has her eyes set on another title shot. She fought for the inaugural women’s 115-pound title in December 2014 but came up short against Carla Esparza.
“I feel like I can go all the way to the belt and hold it for awhile,” she said. Joanna Jędrzejczyk, or whoever is going to win that fight, I’m coming for you. Be careful.”
Champion Jedrzejczyk faces third-ranked Jessica Andrade in the UFC 211 co-main event on May 13 in Dallas, Texas. Namajuanas wants to face the winner next.