Friday, May 20, 2022

Pat Barry Shares His One Regret In Rose Namajunas’ UFC 274 Strategy

Pat Barry has attempted to provide an explanation for Rose Namajunas‘ lackluster performance against Carla Esparza at UFC 274.

Heading into her first appearance of 2022, many expected Namajunas to record a second title defense, which would have extended her reign beyond the length of her first championship rule a number of years ago. But while “Thug Rose” brought fans a memorable knockout and an entertaining five-round affair in 2021, the UFC 274 co-main event was a far cry from her previous contests.

Against former opponent Esparza, Namajunas played her part in what is widely being branded the worst title fight in UFC history. Following a bizarre five-round display, Namajunas lost the strawweight gold on the scorecards after falling on the wrong side of a split-decision verdict.

During and after the result, Barry, who largely led the corner efforts for his partner, received flak for the advice and words he gave Namajunas in the corner. Despite the remarkably low level of output, the former UFC heavyweight assured the 29-year-old that she was doing everything right.

Now, days beyond the disappointing end to Namajunas’ second reign on the 115-pound throne, Barry has assessed what went wrong inside Arizona’s Footprint Center.

Pat Barry: Namajunas Was Too Disciplined

During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Barry appeared to defend the game plan that was driven into Namajunas during fight camp. Rather than the strategy being the issue, the 42-year-old suggested that the problem was “Thug Rose” being unable to deviate from it late on.

Barry suggested that even when he instructed the former champion to “freestyle” in the final round, Namajunas was too disciplined to stray from the plan. With that in mind, Barry said that his mistake was drilling too much control into the Wisconsin native.

“Now, where I blew it is all of the training to have control, all of the training that I did, all of the training that we put together, to stay in control of your emotions, stay in control of yourself — we never once went over how to come out of that,” said Barry. “Because at the end of Round 4, myself, when I got in the ring, and people are going to have comments always, when I got in the ring, I pretty much said, ‘Hey man, I think we’re up 4-0. You can feel free to kind of let go a little bit now and freestyle.’ … That was the whole training camp, is not to [freestyle]. The whole training camp was not to do that, expecting her to do it.

“So now we get into the ring, we get into the fight, it’s about to start Round 5 and we’re pretty much saying, ‘Hey, we’ve seen what we need to see. We know where you are and what you’re capable of. You can open up now.’ And it was almost as if you could see Rose go, ‘Ah, ah, no, no, no. No, you’re trying to trick me.’ We’re not,” continued Barry. “She was so prepared to stick to the game plan that she actually stuck to the game plan when we were telling her, ‘Alright, you can ditch it and go to something else now.’ She stuck to it. She stayed completely disciplined. She stayed completely disciplined the entire time, and so did Carla.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

It’s interesting to note that Barry admitted to that advice coming along with the belief that Namajunas was four rounds up. It’s perhaps that idea that demands further explanation, especially given Namajunas’ post-fight belief that defense should have scored her points in the eyes of the judges.

Understandably, the question on the lips of many following Barry’s comments will surround why it took until the fifth round for him to instruct Namajunas to let loose. On two of the three judges’ scorecards, Namajunas had already lost hope of securing a decision, with one even giving all of the first four rounds to Esparza.

What do you make of Pat Barry’s explanation for Rose Namajunas’ lackluster performance at UFC 274?

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