Another great bout has been added to the already star-studded UFC 274 card. The highly anticipated bout between UFC strawweight champion ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas and number one contender Carla ‘the Cookie Monster’ Esparza has been agreed upon. It will serve as the co-main event at UFC 274. The event will be happening in May in in Phoenix, Arizona.
Namajunas (11-4) and Esparza (18-6) were the finalists of the Ultimate Fighter 20’s tournament which was intended to kick off the 115-pound division in the UFC. The ‘Cookie Monster’ defeated ‘Thug’ Rose in the third round via a rare naked choke and became the inaugural UFC strawweight champion of the world.
Ever since that loss ‘Thug’ Rose has been growing as a martial artist. She had became one of the most feared in the 115-pound division. In the process she won the UFC strawweight title twice.
She most recently defended her title at UFC 268 by defeating Zhang Weili in their rematch. Esparza is currently on a 5 match winning spree. Despite that White was initially reluctant to give her a title shot.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk previously faced both Esparza and Namajunas. This makes her uniquely competent to weigh in on the match up. She told MMAJunkie:
“I think that Rose will defend her belt. Carla won back in the day in 2014, but both of them are totally different fighters, different athletes with different mentality, as well, but I think that Rose will win this fight. She’s very strong. She’s very, very fast. Her timing is just perfect with her footwork. Of course, Carla has a few wins streak, but Rose is a different level, I think.”
The UFC strawweight division is getting more exciting considering there are rumors of a bout between former champions Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk but nothing has been officially announced yet. The two are rumored to be facing each other in Singapore – the card in question is UFC 275 with Zhang Weili rumored to be the headliner.
UFC 274 takes place at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. With the banger Tony Ferguson vs Micheal Chandler added last week and the main event being Lightweight Champion Charles Oliviera vs Justin Gaethje for the title, UFC 274 has one of the best lineups this year.