Namajunas 2-1 Favorite In Rematch Against Esparza
We can consider the first fight between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza “ancient history” as the UFC betting lines strongly favor the champion, Namajunas in this rematch. Esparza was able to wrestle and submit a still-green Namajunas in 2014. But Namajunas has become a different fighter since and should make this rematch much different.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and UFC odds for Namajunas vs Esparza 2. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Namajunas Has Improved by Leaps and Bounds
Rose Namajunas has been fighting for over 12 years yet the Lithuanian-American still hasn’t hit 30. Namajunas debuted in the UFC as an exciting finisher from The Ultimate Fighter. Ultimately, her flashy yet unpolished game would get smothered by the more battle-tested Carla Esparza, a former Invicta FC champion.
Flash forward to today and Namajunas has not only refined her all-around game but has fought in three five-round fights, set the UFC record for most stoppage wins in the division, and won the strawweight title twice becoming the first woman to recapture a belt.
Namajunas has not fought too many grapplers like Esparza since losing to her. She has a 51 percent takedown defense and has managed to win three of the four fights in which she was taken down. Most notably, Namajunas has proven she can win fights at a technical level and that’s what counts in a championship fight.
Esparza Quietly Worked Her Way Back
Esparza has fought her way back to the top after it appeared like she’d be stuck gatekeeping in an ever-changing division, but after back-to-back losses in 2018, she won five straight fights by persisting with her wrestling. She’s only landing 37 percent of her takedown attempts but she lands over 3.5 per 15 minutes.
The former champion leads the division in takedowns and top position time and is second in top position percentage and control time. Even if Esparza struggles to keep her opponents down, her relentlessness can win her fights.
Namajunas vs Esparza 2 Head-to-Head
It was more than eight years ago when Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza first fought for the inaugural strawweight title. Esparza landed five of her seven takedown attempts and submitted Namajunas in the third. Despite being the top seed from The Ultimate Fighter, Esparza was a slight favorite on the online sportsbook.
Namajunas vs Esparza 2 Fight Information
- Fight: Namajunas (11-4-0) vs Esparza (18-6-0)
- Location: Footprint Center
- Day/Time: Saturday, May 7, 10:00 p.m. ET
- Live stream: UFC Fight Pass
Namajunas vs Esparza 2 Betting Lines
Namajunas vs Esparza 2 Prediction
The betting odds are kind to Carla Esparza here, thanks to her win over Rose Namajunas. Even if this was a long time ago, Esparza showed that Namajunas can be exploited on the mat. We’re not sleeping on the prolific wrestler but Namajunas should be able to fend her off and finish her within five rounds.
Namajunas is 4-0 in rematches last beating Zhang Weili, who tried to wrestle her down. She gave up five takedowns but managed to outlast Zhang. Esparza’s only shot here is to try to tire out Namajunas by making her constantly defend against her grappling. This could also work against Esparza as Namajunas catches her with something. The under 4½ rounds at +150 is one of the best UFC bets here.