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UFC Fight Night 80 results: Rose Namajunas dominates a resilient Paige VanZant

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Rose Namajunas doesn't have a personal Reebok deal. She hasn't been given prime-time exposure on network television or been trotted around on the UFC's national media tour rounds.

But she was given an opportunity to compete in a main event Thursday, and she took advantage of that chance to the fullest.

Namajunas took a night which was supposed to be Paige VanZant's showcase and made it her own. "Thug Rose" pummeled the Team Alpha Male fighter in their strawweight main event of UFC Fight Night 80, dominating every aspect of the fight.

Only an extraordinary display of toughness and resilience by PVZ brought the bout into the fifth round before Namajunas finally put her game foe away with a rear-naked choke. The tap out came at 2:25 of the final round.

"I feel great, I had a great night," Namajunas said. "I want to pet my dog."

Namajunas (4-2) established herself from the presence from the outset, scoring an early takedown in the first round and thoroughly working VanZant over. An elbow opened nasty cut on VanZant's right cheek as Namajunas cruised to what was likely a 10-8 round.

The second round was by and large a repeat of the second.

By the third, VanZant's toughness became the most compelling aspect of the fight. Namajunas continued to dominate the bout, and managed to get a deep rear naked choke in the final minute of the round. But with PVZ's face a crimson mask, she somehow managed to persevere through the end of the round.

Things got even crazier in the fourth, perhaps another 10-8 round. Twice Namajunas landed deep armbars, the second of which seemed to pop PVZ's elbow out and back in.

VanZant survived, but finally tapped to the rear-naked choke in the fifth.

"I thought there would be armbars all day, but I saw pictures, I knew her arms were kind of gummy, so I knew not to get frustrated if I didn't get the tap out right away," said Namajunas, who won for the second straight time after losing to Carla Esparza last year in the bout to determine the first strawweight champion."

VanZant (6-2) had a four-fight win streak snapped and lost for the fist time in the UFC.