VIDEO: Rose Namajunas Shocks Weili Zhang With Stunning Head Kick Knockout at UFC 261

Published 04/24/2021, 11:55 PM EDT


Rose Namajunas has done it again. Or should we just yell, “THUG ROSE” as Daniel Cormier would do? Namajunas knocked out Weili Zhang in the first round of the fight. She landed a picture-perfect left high kick and Zhang went flat to the ground. While ‘Magnum’ tried protesting the finish, it was clear that she was out on her feet after the kick.

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Zhang was the favorite heading into the fight and was coming off a 13-month layoff. However, Namajunas was too sharp with the kick to be fazed by the challenge of beating the woman in front of her. She became the first two-time UFC Strawweight Champion with that win. As a result of her win, she also became the only fighter to have beaten three former Women’s Champions in the UFC Strawweight division.

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It is hard to figure out where Rose will go from here. Many expected Zhang to win and go for a super-fight against Valentina Shevchenko, who won her fight prior to Zhang vs Namajunas. But now, the UFC may rematch Namajunas with Weili or there may be a new contender to emerge on the scene.

Rose Namajunas: Who should she fight next?

The options ahead for Rose Namajunas are quite good. While it is unlikely that she rematches Joanna Jedrzejczyk after having two wins over her, it is always an intriguing fight for her to have. Namajunas pulled off consecutive upset wins, and many would wager that Joanna could pull it off if given another shot. But there should be other options as well.

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JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – APRIL 22: Rose Namajunas poses for media during the UFC 261 press conference at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 22, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

The winner of Carla Esparza vs Yan Xiaonan is a possible choice for Namajunas after this. It is a 4 vs 5 rankings matchup and could create intrigue atop the division, and an impressive win for either could warrant a title shot.

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However, the most likely route does look to be a rematch with Weili Zhang. The shot was perfectly placed, but people can argue that it was a lucky shot. The best way to hammer home a rivalry is by winning twice. Hence, Namajunas vs Zhang II may be the best next-fight option, but the options ahead for ‘Thug’ Rose are plentiful.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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