Rose Namajunas breaks down the training behind her “perfectly-executed” head kick win over Zhang Weili

Rose Namajunas says there was no wasted movement or redundant activity in her fight against Zhang Weili at UFC 261.

Thug Rose finished the incumbent champion via a head-kick knockout to reclaim the UFC strawweight title and snap Weili’s 21-fight winning streak in the process.

During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani of ESPN, Rose Namajunas said the high-kick technique was perfected by her fiance and coach Pat Berry while training in China earlier in his career.

“I knew that was the vulnerability she had,” Namajunas said. “Pat’s (Pat Berry) been to China, he’s kickboxed there for a long time in his early days. A lot of his knockouts came from the left high kick over there. It’s just something that we have worked on.”

Forming a strategy and game plan for a particular opponent is a theoretical exercise. It takes into account many assumptions about the opponent’s reactions and tendencies that may not work in real-time.

Namajunas added that the game plan formulated for Zhang Weili turned out to be perfect. She said all the calculations about Weili’s tendencies turned out to be spot-on for her on fight night.

“Everything was set up,” Namajunas added. “From all the movement, yeah… it was perfectly executed game plan… I don’t know her but I do know a lot ABOUT her. I feel like my calculations were pretty spot on. They’re all theories, right? And then you go into the fight and test them out and I was right.”

Rose Namajunas is one win away from matching a special record

Rose Namajunas was part of the first-ever strawweight title fight in UFC history. After losing the inaugural title fight to Carla Esparza, she then captured the belt from Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2017.

Her subsequent title loss to Jessica Andrade, followed by her UFC 261 triumph last weekend, has made Namajunas the only two-time female UFC champion.

Former champion Carla Esparza is the only former champion to hold a win over Rose Namajunas in the UFC. Esparza is still a contender in the strawweight division and is likely to fight Namajunas soon, given the dynamics of the division.

With the Jessica Andrade loss already avenged in 2020, defeating Esparza would make Rose the only female fighter besides Amanda Nunes to hold wins over every former champion of her division.

Published 29 Apr 2021, 05:21 IST

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