Rose Namajunas looked like she had the perfect gameplan to dispatch Jessica Andrade and keep a nightmare night going for the Brazilian fans at UFC 237. But a slam which will feature on highlight reels for years to come ended the fight in an instant.
Namajunas and Andrade met in the main event of the card, which took place at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Namajunas came out utilizing her reach in the early part of the first round. Dancing around outside and popping jabs and overhand rights, she immediately split the eyebrow of the Brazilian challenger.
The early success of the champ led Andrade to try to get inside and work big takedowns. This resulted in a massive slam, but Namajunas was able to quickly recover from and resume her powerful straight punches.
Wow! What a start!!
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) May 12, 2019
The first slam may not have had much effect, but in Round 2, Andrade took Namajuanas for another ride, picking the champ up and slamming her to the mat on her head and neck.
The way Namajunas landed was frightening. Andrade dropped a few punches on her defenseless foe before the referee called a halt to the bout at the 2:58 mark of the second frame.
Namajunas did not appear to suffer any significant injury. She was quickly making her way back to her feet while the Brazilian celebrated, capturing gold at 115 pounds.
— UFC (@ufc) May 12, 2019
It was a rough way to go out for Namajunas, especially after winning almost every second of the bout prior to the slam that brought an end to the bout.
Andrade has a host of potential challenges in front of her. Holding on to the title will be difficult with potential bouts with Tatiana Suarez, a rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk (who defeated Andrade in a title bout in 2017), and a potential rematch with Namajunas.
Silva falls to leg injury
Legends had a rough night at UFC 237. Anderson Silva (34-10 MMA, 17-6 UFC) — one of the greatest fighters to ever live — was the last legend up. He took on Jared Cannonier (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) in the evening’s middleweight co-main event.
Silva has undoubtedly lost a step from the days when he operated several levels above the rest of the 185-pound division. But his recent losses have come against some of the best of the best in the UFC, dating back to a pair of losses to Chris Weidman in 2013. In the second of those losses, Silva saw his leg snap in half after throwing a kick.
The bout with Cannonier brought back chilling memories of that moment. This time around Silva went down with a leg injury after being on the receiving end of the kick.
Silva looked good in the early stages of the fight, moving well and firing off kicks with a surprising speed for a 44-year-old. But the first round had not yet ended when a Cannonier kick crashed into the knee of Silva, dropping him to the ground where he was clearly in agony.
The fight was stopped immediately. It was clear Silva’s knee had suffered significant damage.
An injured Anderson Silva limps out of the Octagon. So unfortunate. pic.twitter.com/34U5d4Skgg
— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) May 12, 2019
The hometown crowd was not happy with the way things had gone for Silva and they showered Cannonier with boos during his post-fight interview. Rather than play into the “fun” of fighting in front of a hostile crowd, Cannonier reacted simply.
“If they don’t respect me I ain’t got no respect for them and that’s it,” he said.
Aldo fails to keep up with Volkanovski
In front of a ravenous hometown crowd, Jose Aldo (28-5 MMA, 10-4 UFC) put his #1 contender ranking in the featherweight division on the line against #4 contender Alexander Volkanovski (20-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC).
Aldo is a UFC legend and there are few spectacles like watching him walk to the cage in Rio. Unfortunately for the former two-time featherweight champ, his entrance walk was the highlight of the night as he could not match the pace of the more effective Volkanovski.
Volkanovski was quick moving in and out on Aldo while landing strikes. Down the stretch, when Aldo needed to headhunt and look for a knockout, Volkanovski smothered him against the cage to take away any hope of a crowd pleasing Hail Mary knockout.
When the official scorecards were read after three rounds of action, all three judges awarded Volkanovski the 30-27 shutout.
Notes from the night
- Laureano Staropoli (9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) outworked veteran Thiago Alves (23-14 MMA, 15-11 UFC) over three rounds to score a unanimous decision victory on the main card.
- In a bantamweight bout to kick off the main card, Irene Aldana (10-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) scored a third round submission of Bethe Correia (10-4-1 MMA, 4-4-1 UFC) in what proved to be a tough fight. Aldana agreed to go forward with the fight after Correia missed weight by five pounds.
- UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn (16-14-2 MMA, 12-13-2 UFC) now holds the unfortunate record of longest losing skid in UFC history after coming up short against Clay Guida (35-18 MMA, 15-12 UFC). Penn looked solid early, but ran out of gas in the second round, when Guida and his endless gas tank took the fight over.
- This was a beautiful knockout early in the night:
— UFC (@ufc) May 11, 2019