UFC 274’s co-headliner title fight between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza showed very little significant moment, to say the least. Save for short grappling exchanges, the entire 25-minute bout was a dragging and a rather uneventful affair.
In the end, it was Esparza who won the rematch as she reclaimed the undisputed title. But if you ask “Thug Rose,” she is the rightful winner.
“I won that fight. I stuck with the strategy. I felt like as if I landed more shots. I even took her down. None of her takedowns were significant or (had) any control time,” she told the media during the post-fight scrum.
“She hit me with, I’d say, one good punch. And then, maybe another time, her forearm clashed into my nose at some point.
“I felt like I did the damage, I controlled the fight, and I’m proud of myself because I stuck to my strategy, ‘cause I know that in all of Carla’s fights, she just baits people in, and she tries to get people to attack her.
Namajunas further argued her point.
“I’ve been in slugfests before. I’ve gotten my nose broken, I’ve stood there and shed blood in the Octagon, so it’s, like, I stuck to the strategy. She didn’t really have any offense, she was whiffing at air the whole time. So, I thought I won.”
The 29-year-old competitor did recognize some of her lapses. But ultimately, she knows and feels that the victory should be hers.
“There were moments when I wanted to capitalize a little bit more, be a little more offensive in moments. But then, every time I would step, my foot would slip. So I had to be a little more safe,” Namajunas said.
“That’s the decision I made in the moment, but I am an exciting fighter, I’m a finisher, I won the highest finishing rate. So I don’t think that I was getting the boos, I’m pretty sure that was Carla.”
UFC 274 marks Namajunas’ second title defense loss as she drops to a record of 11-5. Esparza, meanwhile, keeps her winning streak alive as she improves to a 19-6 win-loss slate.