MMA Preview – Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas at UFC 217

Date: Sunday 5th November, 2am (UK)

Location: New York City, New York

Venue: Madison Square Garden

The first title fight of three in Madison Square Garden features two of the most exciting female fighters in the UFC. The ascending fan-favourite Rose Namajunas is gunning for the strawweight title which belongs to the imperious Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

As usual, Jedrzejczyk is the favourite. She has looked phenomenal is every fight in the UFC and she has amassed her unbeaten record by sticking to her strengths and application of Kickboxing and Muay Thai, dismantling every opponent that has stood in front of her, whether that be grapplers or fellow high-level strikers – she is simply on a different level. The Poland native has been tested and been in wars with the likes of Claudia Gadelha, Jessica Andrade and Karolina Kowalkiewicz but she has battled like a true champion, always finding a way to wreak the most damage and earn the victory.

The next threat to her crown is the #4 ranked Namajunas. Although this looks like a mismatch on paper, she possesses a dangerous skillset and has improved drastically in each fight since her introduction on The Ultimate Fighter and has earned her shot after an extremely impressive win over fellow strawweight prospect, Michelle Waterson. Namajunas is also a nasty striker, owning black belts in Karate and Taekwondo, but in the octagon we have seen more of her blossoming ground game with three rear-naked chokes.

So Namajunas has the credentials to stand and trade with Jedrzejczyk. However, matching the quality and output for five rounds instead of three is a different ball game. The champion has experience enduring the championship rounds, extinguishing takedowns and out-striking with high octane but Namajunas has little to lose. She is young, hungry and gets better in every fight, bringing more unpredictability than all of Jedrzejczyk’s previous opponents.

There are two key stats highlighted for this fight. Firstly, the takedown defence of Jedrzejczyk will have to be on point as usual. Namajunas is expected to take the fight away from Jedrzejczyk’s strengths and to the ground but if she can’t, she may hold her own on the feet but the sheer volume of strikes the champion will throw is likely to be the deciding factor in the result.

Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.