If you watched all the fights for the live finale it featured A LOT of Women’s Strawweight fights. I thought this was well planned by the UFC just in case you haven’t watched The Ultimate Fighter this season, you can get an idea of who the fighters are in one night. The card itself was headlined by the final round of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Tournament – #1 Carla Esparza (Team Pettis) vs. #7 Rose Namajunas (Team Melendez).
Let me vent before I get into the results I want to talk about. I know many of these fighters in the Strawweight division have fought each other for a long time and trained together for a while. Many have probably become friends over the years. However, last night while I watched this event I saw way too many fights go to decision. This is my biggest pet peeve about the UFC right now, I still enjoy watching fights but too many go to the hands of the judges. Every year when TUF starts Dana White always says to leave it in the cage and not let the judges dictate your future. I don’t know if it is the current group of fighters just looking to put on a show or not wanting to destroy their friends, but things need to change. 6 fights ended by decision last night, and 1 fight ended in no contest because of an eye poke. The remaining 4 were submissions, I like submissions don’t get me wrong as long as the fight ends because a fighter was the best all good, but I was really surprised there wasn’t 1 TKO. Honestly, I will not even go over the fights that went to decision. I am sure there are fans that like decision fights, and that’s cool I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I just know my preference when I watch a fight. Rant over, let’s get into the results…
During the UFC Fight Pass prelims Aisling Daly def. Alex Chambers by submission (armbar) at 4:53 of Round One. I wasn’t too much of a fan of Aisling’s during the season. However, I thought she carried herself well in this fight, probably the best I saw her all season. Her win over Alex Chambers, is enough for me that I wouldn’t mind seeing her move up the ranks a little more. I don’t think she is worthy of being in a title fight yet, but maybe if she keeps it up.
During the Fox Sports 1 prelims I thought Felice Herrig def. Lisa Ellis by submission (armbar) at 3:05 of Round Two was a good fight. I think Felice has grown as a fighter more as the season grew on and this fight proved that. Being friends with Carla Esparza will help her out as her UFC career grows. We still have to wait until Monday for the first UFC Women’s Strawweight rankings to be unveiled but I’d be surprised if Felice isn’t up in the Top 5. If Felice continues to grow as a fighter, I could possibly see a title shot in her future in 2015.
By far the fight of the night for me was the main event of Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas. I was actually on the edge of my seat this entire fight. I gave a prediction that the fight would end in the first round, it did not. However the first round was intense. Both women threw their fists left and right the whole round. Carla tried numerous times to take Rose to the ground, but you could tell Rose wanted nothing to do with the ground game in this fight. She was going for a TKO somehow. I was nervous Rose was going to win, my money was on Carla in this fight, I thought Rose was taking a page out of Ronda Rousey’s fight book and going intense in round 1 for the victory. Carla brought her A game in this fight, she could tell what Rose was doing early on and was trying to block and defend or reverse anything Rose brought her way. I don’t know how the judges scored in favor of Round 1, I may give it to Rose but Carla was just as good.
Round 2 Carla continued the pressure on Rose more and more and we saw Rose’s energy really slow down. Once Round 3 began I was a little more at ease during this round because I could tell Carla had Rose. Rose wasted all her energy in Round 1 and when Carla slipped on a rear naked choke I knew it was game over for Rose. Not long after Carla put the rear naked choke on Rose tapped out for Carla Esparza to become the very first ever UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion!
That’s it for The Ultimate Fighter Season 20! It was a great season to develop a new division and introduce a lot of new female fighters to the UFC audience. 2015 will continue to be dominated by the women fighters of the UFC and I can’t think of 2 better women to lead the pack than Ronda Rousey and Carla Esparza! I think this season was a success using The Ultimate Fighter as a platform to crown a new champion and wouldn’t mind seeing it used this way in the future again. Here are the quick results from last night:
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Angela Hill def. Emily Kagan by unanimous decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)
Aisling Daly def. Alex Chambers by submission (armbar) at 4:53 of Round One
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Tecia Torres def. Angela Magana by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Joanne Calderwood def. Seo Hee Ham by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Heather Jo Clark def. Bec Rawlings by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Felice Herrig def. Lisa Ellis by submission (armbar) at 3:05 of Round Two
Main Card (Fox Sports 1)
Jessica Penne def. Randa Markos by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Yancy Medeiros def. Joe Proctor by submission (guillotine) at 4:37 of Round One
Daron Cruickshank and K.J. Noons fight to No Contest (Cruickshank unable to continue after eye poke)
Charles Oliveira def. Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:26 of Round Three to become the 1st Ever UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion