Rose Namajunas bested Zhang Weili tonight at UFC 268 for the second time in a row, but this was a much closer battle that their first encounter, ending in a split decision win.
Leg kick from Weili. She lands another. A third now connects as Namajunas stays patient on the outside.
Namajunas with a couple of feeler punches, but not landing yet. Inside leg kick for Weili. Namajunas presses forward with a flurry of punches that don’t quite find the mark, but does end that combo with a leg kick.
Head kick attempt from Weili is blocked. Namajunas counters with punches off missed strikes from Weili.
Namajunas lands as they exchange again. Now Weili is in on a takedown and lands it. Weili postures up and drops down a punch. She lands a kick to the butt too and then back down.
Namajunas does well to manufacture a get-up and break free of Weili’s clutches afterwards.
Weili right back to her kicking game. Punch for Namajunas. Calf kick for Namajunas after Weili misses a head kick attempt.
Straight punch for Namajunas in close. Inside leg kick for Weili lands lightly. Front kick from Namajunas misses but Weili slips back off-balance afterwards, allowing Namajunas to step in and lands a straight punch.
Low leg kick from Weili. Clipping punch from Namajunas. Body kick attempt from Weili. Nice combination of punches to the body and head alongside a leg kick.
Head kick attempt from Namajunas comes up short. Weili steps in and lands punches as Namajunas also connects on the counter.
Another quick exchange in close and Weili landed a nice punch. Missed head kick from Weili. Both ladies just miss with a power punch at the same time.
Low kick from Weili. Right hand from Namajunas. Head kick attempt from Weili. They clinch up for a moment. Jab from Namajunas as Weili lands another solid low kick.
leg kick from Namajunas now. Namajunas steps into range and eats a left hand that stumbles her backwards.
Weili with a leg kick. Namajunas attempts a high kick and Weili catches it and brings her to the mat. Weili postures up and Namajunas lands a solid upkick.
Weili up on the balls of her feet and lands a couple of solid punches. Namajunas now able to get back up though.
They clinch up and Weili tries for a trip that doesn’t pay off. However, now Namujunas works a takedown of her own and lands it. Not much time to work though here and she only just starts to drop down a few punches as the horn sounds.
Front kick upstairs misses from Namajunas. Outside leg kick from Weili. Body kick attempt from her doesn’t quite land clean.
Solid jab for Namajunas. Body kick from Weili. Leg kick for Namajunas. Both trade a leg kick apiece.
Weili misses a kick, Namajunas tries to step in to land something of her own and Weili lands a grazing counter.
Missed spinning backfist from Weili. Leg kick from Namajunas. Overhand right from Namajunas. Now a jab as Weili lands a leg kick. Body kick from Weili.
Light inside leg kick from Namajunas. Namajunas blitzes into range and potentially a takedown attempt, but it never really gets going and she backs up.
Big right for Namajunas and Weili goes into the clinch against the cage. Namajunas lands a good shoulder strike. They break apart with Weili attempting to land a hook.
Leg kick for Weili. Overhand lands to the top of the head from Weili. Namajunas lands punches. Powerful hook from Weili lands hard.
Weili able to land a takedown in the center of the Octagon. Weili looking to get to her back and does so. Weili moves to full mount and starts landing ground and pound punches and elbows, but the round ends just as things are heating up.
Body kick for Weili. Body punch for Namajunas. Inside leg kick from Weili. She lands another. Leg kick from Namajunas. Big right hand from Namajunas.
Namajunas looks for a kick and Weili catches it and brings her down. Namajunas with rapid-fire upkicks that backs Weili up off-balance and gives her an opportunity to get quickly back to her feet.
Another right hand connects for Namajunas. Leg kick from Weili. Now Weili goes back into the clinch and brings Namajunas down to her knees in the center of the Octagon.
Weili takes the back and rolls Namajunas onto her. Namajunas able to reverse and get on top in Weili’s guard with more than two minutes of the round remaining.
Namajunas looking for half-guard and Weili looking to improve her position, but Namajunas stays on top back in her guard.
Body punches from Namajunas. Elbows from her back from Weili and then tries to kick Namajunas off without success. Namajunas stands and tries to pass guard, but nothing doing. She stands again and drops back down with a punch.
Timing ticking down without much offense from Namajunas, but a good amount of control time in the second-half of the round. Weili with an elbow strike from her back and a few punches from Namajunas.
Namajunas started the round without her mouthpiece and is backs up and is given time to get it back in.
leg kick from Weili. Leg kick for Namajunas and a punch from Weili. Weili briefly attempts to clinch.
Namajunas darts into a very well timed takedown and gets Weili down in the center of the Octagon with most of the round remaining.
A couple of solid punches to the face from Namajunas. She lands another punch as Weili is trying to use her butterfly guard to push her off. Namajunas gets into full guard now.
Weili trying to push her off again without success. Namajunas lands a left hand and gets to half-guard. She lands another punch then Weili gets her back to full-guard.
Body punches from Namajunas now as she postures up on the balls of her feet. Weili getting the feet on Namajunas hips and tries to push her off again, but she keeps coming straight back into guard.
Final minute now. Weili lands an elbow from her back. Namajunas with a right hand. Weili with upkicks as Namajunas gives a little space, but then drops back in with a nice punch. Namajunas settles backc into the guard. Weili trying to throw strikes off her back and Namajunas lands a right hand.
Very closely fought battle then for four rounds as the action ebbed and flowed, with the fifth being the most definitive as Namajunas got the early takedown and controlled the action on top.
So it goes down to the scorecards and it’s a tight one, but it’s ‘Thug’ Rose who emerges victorious via unanimous decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46).