UFC Fight Night 80 Results: Rose Namajunas Dominates, Submits Paige VanZant

December 11, 2015

Rose Namajunas and Paige VanZant have followed differing paths to the UFC, but being a similar age – Namajunas is 23 and VanZant is 21 – both have huge upsides to their careers, even after facing each other at UFC Fight Night 80 on Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Namajunas made her way to the Octagon via The Ultimate Fighter, emerging as a finalist on the twentieth edition of the show. She squared off with former Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza for the inaugural UFC strawweight title, but wasn’t quite ready for what Esparza had to offer.

She rebounded with a first-round submission of Angela Hill to get back on track.

RELATED > UFC Fight Night 80: Namajunas vs. VanZant Full Results and Live Fight Analytics

VanZant was too young to be on TUF, entering the Octagon at just 20 years of age, but she quickly rocketed to a level of stardom higher than any of the other strawweights from the show, Namajunas included.

rose-namajunas-UFN80-scrum2-750Coming into this fight ranked No. 5 in the division, VanZant faced a golden opportunity to prove that she could live up to the hype, as Namajunas entered the fight ranked No. 3 in the 115-pound class.

While their records looked similar on paper, Namajunas at 3-2 professionally, VanZant at 5-2, Namajunas had far more experience with several amateur bouts to her credit and a trio of “exhibition bouts” on The Ultimate Fighter. Her experience showed in the fight.

VanZant tried to start quickly, but Namajunas took the center of the cage and immediately established herself as the better striker. But she wasn’t satisfied to stand and trade with VanZant. Namajunas was also better with her takedowns and then again outclassed her on the canvas.

But try as she might, Namajunas couldn’t put VanZant away. She sank a deep rear-naked choke in the latter half of the first frame, but VanZant escaped. She busted VanZant open, but she wouldn’t fade away.

VanZant tried to regroup and rushed Namjunas again to open round two, but, if anything, Namjunas continued to feed off of VanZant’s enthusiasm, continuing to outclass her on the feet and continuously going after submissions on the mat throughout the fight.

In the fifth frame, VanZant again started quickly and this time looked like she might get her offense going, but Namajunas didn’t skip a beat, again putting her on the canvas.

VanZant kept finding ways to escape, but two minutes into the final frame, she stood up, trying to escape, but Namajunas locked a rear-naked choke that she wouldn’t find a way out of this time. VanZant had no choice and tapped out.

Her early attempts to finish VanZant were frustrating, but Namajunas said after the fight that she’s learned to adapt.

“I’m a finisher, so it’s really frustrating to not get it right away, but as time went on, I felt really good, so I just decided I’m gonna keep on doing what I’m doing.”

And doing what she did finally led to the finish Namajunas wanted, improving her record to 4-2 and firmly affixing her at the top of the division.

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