Posted May 21, 2015 by Melanie Gale in InvictaFC

UFC 187: Thug Rose Gunnin’ For A Win

Anchoring the UFC 187 Fox Sports 1 prelims is the strawweight fight between TUF 20 alum Rose Namajunas (2-2) and Nina Ansaroff (6-4).

Namajunas came onto TUF as a favorite to win the belt. On paper, she’s the perfect fighter: athletic and well-rounded, known for pressuring kicks and strikes complimented by a truly spectacular flying armbar, and a killer instinct as intense as Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey’s (11-0). She barreled past her TUF housemates Alex Chambers (5-2), Joanne Calderwood (9-1), and Randa Markos (5-2) to make the TUF title fight, losing to Carla Esparza (10-3). But so far in her stint in the UFC she hasn’t been able to convert her phenomenal potential into wins, and enters Saturday’s fight as a .500 fighter with professional losses to Tecia Torres as well as Carla Esparza.Rose2

Nina Ansaroff is a former flyweight whose record is unremarkable, although she gets some points for training out of ATT alongside such noted fighters as Tecia Torres (5-0), Amanda Nunes (10-4), Valerie Letourneau (7-3), and Jessica Aguilar (19-4). She is known for her ground game and slick grappling, with striking forceful enough to have finished several opponents. Her jump to the UFC came after a stunning win over the favored Munah Holland (5-3) at Invicta FC 11, although her UFC debut resulted in a decision loss to Julianna Lima in a lackluster matchup.nina

It’s cynical to think the UFC matchmakers gave Namajunas this fight to guarantee a checkmark in her win column, but her upside overshadows Ansaroff’s abilities by such a degree it’s difficult to think anything else.

Namajunas should have an easy points win against Ansaroff, but she needs to avoid getting too complacent. Ansaroff almost finished Lima a few times and is far from toothless in the Octagon. I expect we’ll see Namajunas keep the pressure consistently on Ansaroff, looking for an opening to convert a takedown to a submission. She may get that, but Ansaroff’s BJJ is good enough to probably have this go the entire three rounds. Barring a surprise the size of Ansaroff’s TKO of Holland, this is Namajunas’ fight to lose.

Prediction: Namajunas by decision.

UFC Fox Sports 1 Prelims start at 8 pm EDT/5 pm PDT.

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Melanie Gale