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Tensions have reached a boiling point between Joanna Champion and Rose Namajunas (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk v. Rose Namajunas – UFC 217 Fight of the Night?

Is Joanna truly ready for Rose Namajunas, or will the champion be conquered inside Madison Square Garden?

It is hard to argue that Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the best fighters in the UFC today. She might even rank up there in MMA history. Fight after fight she has knocked down those who challenged her, holding onto her Strawweight Title like it’s a part of her. The way she plays mind games with her opponents is something from out of this world. She is the Queen of the Octagon, and she looks to tie Ronda Rousey’s record for the most consecutive title defenses tonight at UFC 217 inside Madison Square Garden. Standing in her way is 25-year old Rose Namajunas, someone who may just give her a a challenge she may never forget.

It says a lot when an opponent is unfazed by mind games. Joanna (14-0) loves to mess with an opponent’s head, but with Rose (6-3), she has had to work overtime. Zombie-like almost the entire lead up to the fight, Namajunas is only focused on the title and nothing else. Maybe she is holding it all in, waiting for her time to pounce. After all, Joanna has given her a lot of ammo to use against her, whether it’s striking a nerve over Rose’s mental health (her family has a dark history with it) or actually attempting to get physical before the fight.

Joanna proclaimed that “The Boogeywoman” is coming for Namajunas, but how prepared is she actually? By “crossing the line” as some would say, Joanna is entering an unknown battlefield. Rose may be “crazy”, but that could lead to her being a very dangerous opponent for the champion. Saying the Lord’s prayer toward the opponent while they are trying to get in your head is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Fighting against the unknown in this fight is the reason why Rose should not be taken lightly.

Now, am I saying that Rose will dethrone the mighty Strawweight Champion? Not entirely. Five of Rose’s wins have come via submission. Four of Joanna’s wins have come via knockout, but nine have come via UD. In fact, the last four fights have been that way. Joanna is a striker and if Rose wants to get close, she might lose to Joanna’s power. Both could change it up however, as the champion has stated she has an ace up her sleeve. Maybe she will look to defeat Rose at her own game via submission.

Unlike Rose, Joanna’s previous opponent at The Garden, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, was an exact carbon copy of the champion. Those two put on a clinic, with the fans roaring for more. Is Rose on the same level as Karolina? I would say no, but maybe that’s not the worst thing. Unpredictability is key, and unlike the clash between the Polish Powers, this could be a fight that will be in a class of it’s own. Whether that means Rose will give Joanna the fight of her life like Karolina did is unknown.

If I’m Joanna, I would not brush off Rose so quickly. Ronda Rousey did the same to Holly Holm, and look what happened to her. Holm was as calm as Rose is now, which could be a sign of things to come. Fighting results in wins however, not games. How these two square off at the beginning could determine the overall result of the fight. In regards to a result: I’ll give it to Joanna in the third round via KO.  

At the end of the night, only one of these gladiators will walk out a winner. It could truly be a war to remember, Sit back and relax, for we may witness a sneaky contender for Fight of the Night.

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel is a Managing Editor at DoubleGSports.com, as well the lead Pro Wrestling writer. Daniel is also the lead New York Mets writer and contributes on UFC/MMA. He also hosts a Sunday podcast, The Main Event.
Daniel Yanofsky
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