NEW YORK – History was up for grabs for Joanna Jedrzejczyk at Madison Square Garden Saturday night, but despite being favored to defeat Rose Namajunas at UFC 217 and set a new mark for UFC championship victories by a woman, it was “Thug Rose” who made history of her own, scoring a stunning first-round knockout of the previously unbeaten Jedrzejczyk to take the UFC strawweight title.
“It feels like a movie right now,” said the new champion, whose Hollywood ending took just a little over three minutes.
After an intense staredown, referee John McCarthy waved the combatants into action and the two stood at close range and proceeded to trade punches at an active clip. Early on, it looked like Namajunas’ shots were range finders, while Jedrzejczyk’s were designed to end the fight.
But it was the Milwaukee native who drew first blood, dropping Jedrzejczyk and shocking the crowd. The Olsztyn native got up quickly, but it was a sign of things to come, as later in the round, Namajumas struck with a left hook that put Jedrzejczyk on the deck a second time. This time, Namajunas wasn’t going to be denied, with a right hand jarring her foe even more. A follow up barrage of punches followed, with referee John McCarthy stepping in at the 3:03 mark.
The 25-year-old Namajunas, who lost her first crack at a UFC title against Carla Esparza in 2014, improves to 8-3. The 30-year-old Jedrzejczyk falls to 14-1.