Kicking off UFC 192’s Fox Sports 1 televised preliminary card is a women’s strawweight matchup between #4 ranked Rose Namajunas and Angela “Overkill” Hill. Namajunas makes her first appearance since losing to Carla Esparza in the inaugural UFC strawweight title fight last December. Hill, meanwhile, has compiled a 1-1 record in two UFC contests and is coming off a June loss to Tecia Torres. Rose Namajunas (2-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC, -240 favorite) Namajunas was the star of season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, which was designed to integrate the women’s strawweight division into the UFC and crown its first champion. As the #7 seed, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin born fighter was matched up with Alex Chambers in the first round of the tournament. Namajunas dominated the fight and submitted Chambers via rear-naked choke in the very first round. Her next matchup against Joanne Calderwood ended up being tabbed as the fight of the season. It was a back and forth fight, but Namajunas ultimately won via submission in the second round. While the win advanced her to the semi-finals, she had to get by the gritty Randa Markos in order to make it to the finals. Incredibly, Namajunas notched her third straight submission win when she tapped out Markos via kimura in the first round. That led to her involvement in the UFC’s first strawweight title fight against Carla Esparza, which she ultimately lost via submission in the third round. Namajunas compiled a 2-1 record prior to entering the UFC, including two impressive submission wins while fighting for Invicta Fighting Championships. As you may infer from the first paragraph, Namajunas is a very crafty submission artist. She is prone to taking risks, such as attempting a flying armbar or giving up position before she has her submission locked in. While that got her in trouble against the more experienced Esparza, she is still quite dangerous on the mat. The 23-year old has an active guard and constantly attempts submissions from her back. That is a good quality to have because Namajunas’ wrestling is still very much a work in progress. Her takedown defense can be poor at times, while her offensive wrestling is decent depending on the opponent. On the feet Namajunas is a black belt in karate and taekwondo, which is evident in her flashy arsenal of kicks. While her kicks are her best weapons on the feet, she also has decent punching combinations. However, Namajunas has little power in her hands, which may change as she matures. Angela Hill (2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC, +200 underdog) The 27-year old was the least experienced fighter on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. As the lowest seed in the tournament, she was matched up with the #1 overall seed, former Invicta Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza. Esparza dominated her with her potent wrestling and ground game and ultimately submitted her in the first round via rear-naked choke. Hill only had one fight in her professional career at the time, a knockout win against an unheralded opponent on a local show in North Carolina. The Brooklyn, New York native is a strong athlete but has very limited experience and is still quite green in several areas. Hill is a Muay Thai enthusiast that features hard punches, kicks, and knees and a strong clinch game. The area where she is heavily lacking is on the ground, which is very problematic when facing an opponent like Namajunas. Hill’s takedown defense is decent but she is very limited once the fight does hit the ground, as she does not scramble back to her feet or defend herself properly from her back. While this is obviously problematic, it is expected that Hill will have weaknesses in her game given her extremely limited experience in the sport. Thoughts This fight is unique because between them, Namajunas and Hill only have seven professional fights overall. That is a highly unusual statistic for a UFC fight. While they both lack experience, Namjunas has three quality victories from The Ultimate Fighter that are not on her official record. She has faced and beaten better competition and is the more well-rounded fighter in this matchup. While Hill’s athleticism, power, and striking abilities are admirable, Namajunas can likely match her striking and has the far superior ground game. The two are friends and former training partners, so I am sure Namajunas is aware of Hill’s limitations on the ground. With that said, I expect Namajunas to get this fight to the ground at some point. When that happens I expect her to submit the inexperienced Hill. The Prediction Rose Namajunas defeats Angela Hill by submission (armbar, round 1)
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