Prediction for Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza

In 2014, two participants in the reality show The Ultimate Fighter, Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza, reached the final, where they were given the opportunity to compete for the place of the first female strawweight champion in UFC history. That evening, the decisive factor in the duel was the struggle of Carla, who submitted the Bandit with a rear naked choke and entered her name in the history of the promotion.

After 7 years, these girls got the opportunity to have a rematch and, looking at the path they went through, there is no doubt that both have grown, both technically and mentally. The audience is waiting for a completely new confrontation, where each participant will have their own trump cards. How will the co-main event of UFC 274 go, and who will feel the weight of the champion belt on their waist on May 8 - we will try to answer this intriguing question in our forecast.

Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza

Rose Namajunas

The two-time champion of the “straw” division is the owner of black belts in karate and taekwondo, to which she later connected kickboxing and BJJ (brown belt). After becoming a TUF finalist, Rose continued her career in the UFC with victories over Angela Hill, Paige Vanzant and Michelle Waterson, after which she moved into top-level opposition.

Namajunas showed the most serious progress when she began training with Trevor Whitman in 2016. The striking technique, the mental attitude that plays a key role in the performances of "Thug", and also the ground, allowed her not only to achieve great success in mixed martial arts, but also to show fights that attract thousands of fans.


Movement, excellent distance control, kicks and heavy, unusual for fragile girls, hooks, allowed Rose to step over the most dangerous rivals in the minimum weight category. Jedrzejczyk and Zhang seemed like monsters against the background of all the others, but the American went through each of them twice, both in protracted cuts and fleeting fights with finishes.

In confrontations with opponents from the TOP-10, if we do not take into account the ex-champions, Namajunas actively used ground and submissions to achieve victories. Almost half of all victories (5 times), she got choke from behind - this is her crown.

For girls from the category up to 52 kg, fighting at a frantic pace is the norm, but not everyone is ready to support it for 15 minutes. But “Banditka”, went the full distance more than once, and took the meetings lasting 25 minutes, consisting of crazy cuts.


Defense against takedowns and work from the back, that is, as the second number on the ground, are problematic moments that the champion has not yet coped with. Long legs and thin hips are the ideal target for wrestlers, although even Weili Zhang, being a striker, managed to knock her to the ground.

Despite the fact that the American went through many tough battles in the octagon, her mental state remains unstable. She suffers from strong emotional experiences before the fight, because of which she can make mistakes during the meeting.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Rose is 29 years old, and her winning streak was interrupted by a single, one might say accidental, loss to Jessica Andrade. Otherwise, she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk twice, Weili Zhang the same number of times, removed Andrade in a rematch, and before all this, she dealt with Michelle Waterson. Putting aside all the talk about psychological drawdowns, it can be argued that Namajunas has been at her peak for a couple of years, and besides, she does not stop learning and progressing with each fight.

Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza

The ex-champion, having the title of the first queen of the minimum weight category of the UFC, retained the status of the champion of Invicta FC and the owner of the brown belt in jiu-jitsu. In her student years, Carla repeatedly became the winner of national freestyle wrestling tournaments, then pulled up BJJ at the Gracie Academy, and was also a boxing coach.

On her sports path, Esparza met and won Feliz Herig, Marina Moroz, the aforementioned Namajunas, Alexa Grasso and other titled opponents. With modest, even for this weight dimensions, Karla surprises with her assertiveness and character, thanks to which she still manages to perform at such a high level.


It is clear that Esparze is very far from the level of the Dagestan champion, but in her division, few people managed to offer something better on the ground floor. She constantly puts pressure on opponents, throws punches, cuts corners and does everything to bring them to a takedown - the efficiency of transfers is lame, but in general they work.

The native of California, like no other, was filled with attacks on the ground floor. And it's not just about submissions. Abundant series of elbows and punches with both hands, seasoned with a sauce of real girlish sports aggression, become an excellent tool for developing an offensive on the ground.

Carla, if you take the general statistics, throws a few punches, but in the work of the first number, she manages to capture the entire combat space due to overhands and protracted combinations. Despite the abundance of marriage, they do their job.


The height and reach of Esparza's hands, which we will talk about in a comparative analysis, became the reason for her defeats in battles with the "top of the ratings". Often, it was taken apart at a distance by those athletes who had a good takedown defense and were noticeably larger, and at the same time physically stronger.

In fact, we do not have the opportunity to criticize the achievements of the ex-champion, since in the last performances she beat the 3rd and 5th rating numbers. There is more of a claim to the minimum weight roster itself, since the same Rose fought with mastodons, and Karla took out those whose names no one knows, despite the high positions in the top.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

For the 34-year-old Esparza, this is definitely the final title run in his career, because girls her age in the division are at a minimum. She goes on a series of 5 victories, among which are such names as Yan Xiaonan, Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson, but losing to the same Tatiana Suarez raises many questions. Carla is definitely not at her peak, but just keeps fit enough to compete at the highest level, only she hasn’t had to deal with anyone from the current elite, so the upcoming title fight will let her know her real threshold of opportunity.

Comparative analysis

Let's return to the issue of dimensions, because the contender is one of the smallest athletes in the UFC. She is 10 cm behind Namajunas in terms of height and 5 cm in reach. However, there are advantages to this, because the low center of gravity will allow her to better defend against takedowns, if they come from the side of the champion at all. Smoothly approaching the styles of girls, we will not reveal a secret to anyone if we say that Rose can be classified as a drummer for a long time, despite the greater number of victories by tricks, and Carla was and remains a wrestler. Obviously, the “Bandit” has completely changed, and it will no longer be so stupid to throw kicks towards the opponent, giving her a leg to grab. Yes, and she will definitely work with protection, so it will no longer be possible to saddle the favorite of the public so easily and without tension.

But Karla Namajunas will be able to make her move back, move more and think about transfers, because her fighting style consists of pressing and takedowns, so close encounters and clinches are inevitable. But in the standing position, the superiority in the range of arms and legs, footwork, and even Rose’s striking power (although we are talking more about the accuracy and surprise of attacks here), will make the applicant nervous, having eaten punches on all floors. In any case, we are waiting for a lot of movement, fierce work on the waste from Namajunas and attempts to cling to the enemy from Esparza. You should not expect a quick finish here, since both are well acquainted with each other. For this reason, you will have to rely on endurance, and in this component the title holder looks much more interesting.

Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza Fight Prediction

Putting aside all the facts, figures, statistics and the like, we could really be witnessing a dominant win from Carla Esparza. She has all the tools to take 3 out of 5 rounds at the expense of wrestling, and then dry up the fight without giving up any precious points. Except there's one big "but" here: Rose has progressed to cosmic heights like no one else in the division, she's a times better fighter in the standup and much smarter in the parter, both on defense and attack. She has also had some really formidable fights, and when you put them up against the opponents that Carla has beaten in her time a lot of questions fall away. It follows that we are in for a competitive, protracted bout, where the champion will have to be on her back, and the challenger will experience all the hardships of fighting "The Bandit" on the rack. For this reason, an option such as a bet on passing the bout over the equator (Total over 2.5) should go down a treat, and for all other odds, the reigning strawweight queen has a better chance of a win. Install the 1xbet app and place a bet on the favorite!

Prediction: Rose Namajunas to win/Total over 2.5

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