Rose Namajunas came out in the UFC 237’s main event fast, mean and on point — just like you’d expect from a world champion. In the second round, she ended up unconscious on the ground as the city of Rio howled in celebration.
Brazil’s own Jessica Andrade weathered the early storm before dealing the death blow midway through the second round. More directly, she landed a slam that knocked Namajunas out cold. The end came at the 2:58 mark of the second round, in a fight that Namajunas had thoroughly dominated up until that point.
“I was very certain of what I had to do in that second round,” Andrade said in the post-fight interview. “You know, I never thrown that move, I’d never pile-drived in the UFC. That’s my nickname, so I’m very happy to do that. I noticed she was slowing down, and I wanted to be able to knock her out. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, too.”
Namajunas, who last fought more than a year ago at UFC 223, came out guns blazing, landing at will left jabs and straight rights early and opening up a cut on Andrade’s left eye. The action heated up as Andrade lifted Namajunas and slammed Namajunas down late in the round, but during that sequence she ended up fighting out of an armbar attempt once on the ground.
Late in the first, Namajunas landed a big shot that sent Andrade reeling, though the Brazilian was able to survive.
The 26-year old Namajunas said in her own interview that losing the belt was a “huge pressure off [her] shoulders.” She falls to 8-4 overall, and 2-2 in title fights.
Andrade, 27, who has won four straight bouts, moves to 20-6.