UFC 201 took place July 30, 2016 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. UFC strawweight contenders Rose Namajunas (5-3) and Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-0) squared off in the night's co-main event, which aired live on pay-per-view. Catch the video highlights above.
For more on Kowalkiewicz vs. Namajunas, check out the play-by-play courtesy of MMAFighting.com's Chuck Mindenhall.
Round 1: Could be a No. one contender fight in the women's strawweight division. They touch gloves. Kowalkiewicz to the center, and they trade. A nice leg kick from Rose. Rose keeping the middle. Flickering Kowalkiewicz staying on the outside, and active as usual. She comes in with a knee, and that's answered with a right counter from Namajunas. A lot of hand movement from Rose, and she lands a right hand counter flush. Kowalkiewicz and her trade again, with Rose landing the better shot. Leg kick from Rose and she falls as she delivers, which prompts Kowalkiewicz to land a punch. Lot of quick skirmish exchanges, and each landing. Rose got the best of Kowalkiewicz with a counter there, followed by a pressure-flurry from Kowalkiewicz. Great sequence. Leg kick from Rose, and Kowalkiewicz moves in again. Rose landing the shots up top early, but Kowalkiewicz lands a series of knees in the clinch! Nice, and Rose takes her down, and Kowalkiewicz tries to sneak through to her back. As she stands, Namajunas able to take her down again, which may have stole the round. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Namajunas, 10-9.
Round 2: Kowalkiewicz looks casual as hell as they come out for this round. Namajunas to the middle, and a push kick chases her out. She lands a right hand, and now they clinch and Kowalkiewicz lands some knees. Rose pushes the action to the links, and now bullying. Kowalkiewicz still landing knees to the body. Elbow from Kowalkiewicz. Rose still pressuring and landing herself. Namajunas looking for the takedown. Body shot from Namajunas. Lots of knees from Kowalkiewicz. Now Namajunas is smothering her on fence, lots of clinch. Hard elbow from Kowalkiewicz. They break. Nice combo from Rose, and then a couple of leg kicks from Kowalkiewicz. Wow. Right hand from Kowalkiewicz, and a push kick from Rose. Action is nonstop. Atlanta cheering. Rose tries to take down Kowalkiewicz, but can't, and she eats a knee. Now back to clinchwork on the fence. Nice right hand from Kowalkiewicz on the break, and it's a heated exchange. Neither backing down. Kowalkiewicz a bunch of knees again from the clinch, that's been her bedrock in this one. Rose slowing, maybe? A little blood coming out of her nose. Spinning wheel kick from Kowalkiewicz, misses. Knee to the body from her, though, and Rose counter with a right. Crazy. This round might be Kowalkiewicz's. She's chipping away with the body shots. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Kowalkiewicz, 10-9 (19-19)
Round 3: Rose was sucking breaths between rounds, but she was dancing before the horn. Here we go. Rose to the middle. Kowalkiewicz initiates the first exchange. Spinning back kick from Kowalkiewicz, but Rose easy steps into it. Knees to the body again from Kowalkiewicz. She keeps the pressure on, and Rose circles gamely. Rose still flinging but not hitting with all the shots. Counters mostly. Feels like Kowalkiewicz is slightly in control. Nice exchange there, and Rose lands some nice shots — and a leg kick. Both are hanging in. Rose looking to land something big up top, and she flings the jab. Right hand lands for Namajunas. The take down attempt again from Rose, but can't get it — and Kowalkiewicz comes forward with a huge sally! Lands a series, and now on the ground trying to attack Rose. Namaunas in guard. A lot of short elbows from Rose, and she tries to grab on for a minute for an arm bar, and then a leg lock. Right back into her guard goes Kowalkiewicz. Pressure on. Rose might be letting this slip away. Upkicks from Rose as Kowalkiewicz postures up, but she can't land it. And now she tries a triangle, can't get it. Scrambles, but Kowalkiewicz remains right on her. Just dominant stuff here from Kowalkiewicz. Hammerfists, and some big shots otherwise. They stand, and they swing, and the round ends. Big round for Kowalkiewicz. MMA Fighting scores it for Kowalkiewicz, 10-9 (29-28 over all for Kowalkiewicz)
UFC 201 official results: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)