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UFC 217 fight card primer: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas

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Bloody Elbow presents its fight primer coverage for UFC 217, which goes down on Saturday, November 4th in New York. Here, we take a look at a women’s strawweight championship showdown between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As you may already know, there are three title fights taking place at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden for a stacked card. Kicking off this night of champions is women’s strawweight titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) against Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who is looking to make the most of her second chance at to win the 115-pound title. UFC 217: Bisping vs. St. Pierre airs live this Saturday night, November 4th, with a main card start time of 10 PM ET/7 PM PT on PPV, preceded by prelims on FS1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, as well as Fight Pass at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.

Jedrzejczyk has been outrageously dominant during her title reign, with only Claudia Gadelha giving her a decent amount of trouble over the course of five title defenses. A win on Saturday would tie Jedrzejczyk with Ronda Rousey for most successful UFC title defenses by a woman. Standing in her way is Namajunas, who has drastically improved over the last two years, and is trying to become only the third champion in UFC women’s strawweight history.

How do these two stack up?

Jedrzejczyk: 38 years old | 6’1" | 75.5" reach
Namajunas: 25 years old | 5’5” | 65” reach

What have these two done recently?

Jedrzejczyk: W - Jessica Andrade (UD) | W - Karolina Kowalkiewicz (UD) | W - Claudia Gadelha (UD)
Namajunas: W - Michelle Waterson (SUB) | L - Karolina Kowalkiewicz (SD) | W - Tecia Torres (UD)

How did these two get here?

Jedrzejczyk is one of the most proficient strikers in all of MMA, and sets a pace that seemingly no one can keep up with. Joanna famously said “nobody is going to take this belt from me” after demolishing Carla Esparza to win the title in 2015, and so far no one has proven her wrong. The Polish star is coming off a brilliant win over the heavy-handed and aggressive Jessica Andrade, who absorbed 225 significant strikes (including 75 leg kicks) over the course of 25 minutes. Jedrzejczyk attacks from all angles and is also difficult to hit cleanly, as well as extremely hard to takedown. If things go according to plan we may soon see Jedrzejczyk fighting for the flyweight title next year.

“Thug” Rose came up short against Carla Esparza in the TUF 20 Finale, which crowned the inaugural UFC women’s 115-pound champ, but the only loss she’s suffered since then is a close split decision to Karolina Kowalkieicz (whom Jedrzejczyk defeated last year). Namajunas is coming off a sensational win over Michelle Waterson, who was knocked down and then eventually choked out. Rose also has beaten Tecia Torres, Angela Hill, and utterly dismantled Paige VanZant. Unlike Jedrzejczyk, who does her damage on the feet, Namajunas has submitted five of the six opponents she’s beaten, and has an excellent rear-naked choke. Getting Jedrzejczyk to the mat will be tough for Rose, but any opportunity for her to take Joanna’s back in a scramble or even while they’re standing is a golden chance to get the upset win.

Why should you care?

This fight is going to be guaranteed excitement. Jedrzejczyk is a ruthless machine and Namajunas is one of the most dynamic fighters in the division. Combine that with the heat generated between these two, expect plenty of fireworks on Saturday night.