Namajunas quickly established her striking skills, overwhelming VanZant almost from the start. A bloodied VanZant could not find answers offensively and was reduced to valiantly defending various submission attempts and strikes.
A lesser strawweight would have been put away much earlier, but Namajunas secured a rear-naked choke minutes into the last round for the win.
There were no moral victories for VanZant.
“I wanted to win,” an emotional VanZant said afterwards at the post-fight press conference. “I was outclassed in every way tonight, but I’m fine.”
“I guess when I got hit, I got rocked pretty bad, she elaborated. “Just technique. I’m new, just technique.”
“I have a lot to learn.”
Namajunas said that while she did get frustrated after several submission escapes by VanZant, her coaches helped remind her to keep working.
“I feel like the position she’s in right now is where I was a year ago,” she said. “I think she [VanZant] showed a lot of heart and she’ll come back strong.”
Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thought on the main card.
FIGHT NETWORK AND UFC FIGHT PASS MAIN CARD
ELIAS THEODOROU VS THIAGO SANTOS
WINNER: THIAGO SANTOS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
WISEMAN PREDICTION: ELIAS THEODOROU VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: While it was evident throughout the fight that Santos had the power advantage, it was Elias who started throwing more strikes right from the beginning. I had it 2 rounds to 1 for Elias, but the judges didn’t see it that way. Granted, Elias just really pinned Santos against the cage while Santos drilled elbows. It wasn’t that pretty in the second round and the third was all Santos, but I personally had Elias controlling more. I don’t know if the judges looked at the cut and blood on Elias face, but apparently Santos convinced the judges.
SAGE NORTHCUTT VS CODY PFISTER
WINNER: SAGE NORTHCUTT VIA SUBMISSION R2 0:41
WISEMAN PREDICTION: SAGE NORTHCUTT VIA TKO
Wiseman: I wasn’t surprised by the win, but I was surprised to see how Sage overcame adversity. Pfister scored a takedown, but Sage remained calm and switched things around. To win the first and he wasted no time in the second to get a submission win. Another great showing by Sage. The hype continues.
#15 JIM MILLER VS MICHAEL CHIESA
WINNER: MICHAEL CHIESA VIA SUBMISSION R2 2:57
WISEMAN PREDICTION: JIM MILLER VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: I knew that this would be an advanced ground game battle. I saw the experience of Miller really testing Chiesa and pushing for a decision win like Lauzon had over him. However, while Miller took the first round, it was the fact that Chiesa kept the pace and pressured which allowed him to stay out of danger in a tight knee bar. He used power that he never showed before, and hurt Miller and actually submitted him. Crazy! Definitely the best he ever looked.
#3 ROSE NAMAJUNAS VS #7 PAIGE VANZANT
WINNER: ROSE NAMAJUNAS VIA SUBMISSION R5 2:25
WISEMAN PREDICTION: ROSE NAMAJUNAS VIA TKO
Wiseman: Rose was just too much. Her wrestling, ground game awareness, cardio, etc. Paige showed a load of heart, but the complete package of Rose was too much for Paige. Rose was persistent and creative with everything she put together, always going for a finish. Amazing showing by the ladies. Rose secured a rear naked choke in the final round. Well deserved win, but much respect for Paige.