At the start of 2019, Rose Namajunas was firmly situated on top the women’s strawweight division. The Trevor Wittman-trained fighter had only fought once the year before, but in beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the second time – at UFC 223 in Brooklyn – she secured her place as the unquestioned queen at 115 lbs. That is, right up until Jessica Andrade sent her sailing through the air in the second round of their title fight at UFC 237.
Andrade’s slam KO was one of the most iconic finishes of the year, and it put a firm halt to any and all of Namajunas’ momentum. ‘Thug Rose’ hasn’t competed since.
However, Ariel Helwani reports that the Milwaukee-born former champion will make her return to action this April, and take her shot at redemption along with it. The UFC is apparently working on finalizing a rematch between Namajunas and ‘Bate Estaca’ for UFC 249, and the venue will be a familiar one.
The April 18th PPV card is set to take place in Brooklyn, NY, at the Barclays Center. The very same building where Namajunas bested Jedrzjecyzk again, to retain her belt. And the same card where Conor McGregor made his infamous charge on Khabib Nurmagomedov, that ended with a shattered bus window and multiple fighters injured.
For Andrade, the intervening year since she and Namajunas last fought has been more active, but no more successful. She attempted to defend her newly gained title, against unheralded challenger Zhang Weili, at UFC Shenzhen in August. But, Zhang bulldozed her with knees and punches for a TKO just 42 seconds into round 1. When Andrade and Namajunas face off in April, both women will be looking to bounce back from what could be called the worst losses of their respective careers.
Coincidentally, UFC 249 is once again set to feature Nurmagomedov in the headlining slot. He’s booked to defend his lightweight title against longtime top contender Tony Ferguson, in what will be the 5th attempt to manufacture a bout between the two men. A middleweight fight between Jacare Souza and Urijah Hall has also been announced for the card.