Esparza was crowned the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion after defeating Namajunas in December 2014. The rematch on May 7 was largely uneventful. Some have classified the fight the worst title bout in the promotion’s history. After five rounds, Esparza was declared the winner by split decision.
Women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko was recently asked what she thought of the rematch, and the lack of action in the title fight.
“It’s hard to say exactly what was wrong in that fight,” Shevchenko said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
“I feel that Rose, she kind of like has everything better compared to Carla, and she just didn’t use much. She could wrestler her easily because I feel Rose, she has more potential in her wrestling against Carla. She just didn’t use her skills,” Shevchenko said. “Rose didn’t activate.”
Sometimes athletes simply have an off night. Shevchenko believes that’s what happened to Namajunas in the rematch with Esparza.
“It’s hard to say. We can now think about all possibilities in the world, what could happen. But it’s happened like it happened. I still feel Rose, she’s a very good fighter. She’s very skillful. She has a lot of good things in her game. It was just a night when she was not herself. That’s what I feel,” Shevchenko said.