UFC 223 – Brooklyn, New York – Sunday, April 8 – 12:00 am (ET) / 4:00am (GMT)
You can find the best odds for UFC 223 at BetOnline.
In an almost immediate role reversal, Rose Namajunas will be defending her UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 223.
Hardly anyone expected Namajunas to be victorious when these two met at UFC 217. It’s not because she isn’t skilled, respected, or a worthy challenger, but it was mostly because of the way we viewed Jedrzejczyk. Joanna was seemingly unstoppable. With a record of 14-0 at the time, Joanna had never tasted defeat. Yet, Namajunas didn’t just defeat the champion, she ran through her in just over three minutes.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been quick to state that she wasn’t 100% the first time around, however. According to the former champion, she felt the impacts of a terrible weight cut. Additionally, because the fight was over relatively quickly, Jedrzejczyk also believes that Rose “won a battle, but she’s not going to win a war.”
So now, Jedrzejczyk is arguably more determined than she has ever been before. This time, rather than fighting to defend her title against a largely underrated challenger, she’ll look to take back the strap that was around her waist before that day at UFC 217.
Going into UFC 217, the consensus opinion was that Rose Namajunas needed to get Joanna Jedrzejczyk down to the canvas if she wanted to outwork her and possibly submit her.
Jedrzejczyk was viewed as ‘too dangerous’ while standing, and she had previously used her exceptional striking ability to punish anyone who stood across from her. Even talented strikers such as Karolina Kowalkiewicz couldn’t handle being in there with Jedrzejczyk over the course of five rounds. So when Namajunas connected and stunned the champion with a series of punches, it amazed everyone watching. Moments after that initial blow, Namajunas followed up with another combination of heavy punches before eventually finishing the fight on the ground. This wasn’t a referee stoppage; it ended with Joanna submitting due to the impact of the strikes.
As we approach UFC 223, this fight certainly seems all the more difficult to predict – despite seeing Rose dominate Joanna the first time. See, can Namajunas experience that same success with her striking? Will she get Joanna to the mat this time and work her submission game, as well?
The first time they met, Namajunas seemingly had an answer for all of Jedrzejczyk’s moves. She has since explained that she could see right through the timing of Joanna and therefore remained one step ahead all night long. One of the critical reasons why Jedrzejczyk was so dominant for so long was because her opponents would respect her striking ability. Namajunas didn’t; she stood right in front of her and traded blows.
While Joanna might enter this one more determined and healthier than last time, it’s difficult to see how she gets past Namajunas in this co-main event.
Somewhat surprisingly, Joanna Jedrzejczyk opened up as a significant favorite. Since then, though, she has moved from -225 to -125 . As such, Rose Namajunas has moved in from +180 to now close to even.
The total rounds line has been set at 3.5 rounds for this co-main event.
The play here is to take Namajunas at these terrific odds. Can she repeat her dominant first-round finish at UFC 217? Maybe not. But she’ll have another four rounds after that opening five minutes to get the job done.
Best Bet: Rose Namajunas to win +105 at BetOnline