With all of this attention on the lightweight Title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson at UFC 223, the co-main event, another title fight between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk doesn’t seem to be getting enough love. The rematch between the two straw weights will probably be one of the most intense bouts of the evening.

Jedrzejczyk, appeared to be the unstoppable champion until Namjunas put an end to her in the first round back at UFC 217. The few analysts that picked her to win were banking on some crafty groundwork leading to a submission. Nobody saw the TKO coming, least of all Jedrzejczyk. She was undefeated in her entire MMA career including her time spent competing in Europe with smaller promotions, so her KO loss was a milestone event in her career. Also, prior to her MMA career, Joanna had a successful Muay Thai and Kickboxing career holding several European titles. She is a thoroughbred, the “Drago” of the women’s straw weight division.

Namajunas, was the dark horse that night. She had some solid wins but was carrying some significant losses to higher-level competition going into the fight. She dropped fights to Tecia Torres, Carla Esparza and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Namajunas was more of a “work –in-progress” when she was offered that fight.

 After the loss, Joanna went to the press and complained about her weight cut, which for anyone who has had to cut weight knows is a valid reason for a less-than-satisfactory performance. In combat sports, it’s like there are two fights: the weight cut and the actual fight.  Depending on how much weight is cut, that last week can be a make-or-break situation.

Be that at is may, Namajunas defeated Jedrzejczyk with footwork. Furthermore, I think Namjunas’ loss to Kowalkiewicz actually set her up to defeat Jedrzejczyk. Both have a very traditional Muay Thai background and pattern to their movement and I think her fight with Kowalkiewics informed her about some possinle openings in Joanna’s game. Her previous losses were to wrestlers with a heavy clinch game.

If you re-watch the first fight, you will see that Rose uses footwork to get in and out. Joanna, though she throws strikes in combination, uses a predicable pattern that can be read and countered.

So what will happen when the two meet again? I think the fight will go pretty much the same way it did the first time around. Not enough time has passed for Joanna to make the necessary changes to defeat Rose.

I predict Namajunas with a second round finish. This time around it will be by submission.