A key strawweight bout between Rose Namajunas and Karolina Kowalkiewicz served as the co-main event of UFC 201 tonight in Atlanta.
Round one begins and Rose starts things off by pumping her jab. Nice leg kicks early from Rose. Karolina replies with a leg kick but Rose counters with a jab. Namajunas lands a stiff right hand. Kowalkiewicz presses forward but eats a left hand from Rose. Namajunas with back-to-back nice right hands. Karolina throws a three-strike combo but nothing connects. Kowalkiewicz lands a nice leg kick. Rose circles and lands a leg kick. Karolina replies with a right hand. She throws a high kick but Rose blocks it. Nice counter left lands from Rose. Karolina lands a leg kick. The ladies clinch and Karolina lands some nice knees. Rose replies with some punches. The fighters clinch and Rose winds up in top position as round one comes to a close.
Round two begins and Rose lands a nice combo to start. She throws a push kick that lands on the chest of Karolina. Kowalkiewicz clinches up and lands some brutal knees and elbows from the position. Rose presses Karolina against the cage. Both fighters trade knees to the body. The ladies continue to battle in the clinch. Karolina finally lands a big elbow as they break. Rose with a nice combination. The fighters exchange leg kicks. Rose with a front kick to the body the drops Karolina. Kowalkiewicz pops back up to her feet. Rose lands a nice kick. They clinch. Another big elbow from Karolina. She lands a big right hand over the top. Rose just misses with a straight right. They clinch and Karolina lands some big knees to the body. Another knee-elbow combo from Karolina in the clinch. Rose lands a counter right hand and then a nice jab. Good punch scores for Kowalkiewicz to end round two.
Round three begins and Karolina misses with a spinning back kick. She clinches up and lands some nice knees to the body of Rose. These knees are really slowing Rose down. “Thug” lands a leg kick and then another. She is circling well to avoid the clinch game of Karolina. Rose misses with a jab but connects with a right. Namajunas ducks under for a takedown. It is not there. Karolina clinches up and lands a knee. She lands some big punches and elbows. Rose hits the floor and Karolina follows here there. “Thug” attempts an armbar but Karolina is not having it. Big shots from the top by Kowalkiewicz. She is softening up the former TUF competitor now. One minute remains. A nice upkick lands for Rose. Kowalkiewicz with some more shots from the top. She takes the back of Rose and lands some big punches from the position. Rose finally gets back to her feet. The ladies stand and trade punches to end the fight.
Kowalkiewicz defeats Namajunas via split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 28-29)