Sometimes you watch a fighter for the first time and just know that they are going to cause the whole division trouble one day. That time has come for Jessica Andrade who earned her shot at the champion of the women’s strawweight division, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, in what should be one of the most intriguing and closely contested fights at UFC 211.
Andrade, a well-rounded fighter who habitually bullies opponents inside the cage, presents possibly the greatest challenge to the champion to this day. Since moving down to the strawweight division, Andrade has strung together decisive wins over Jessica Penne, Joanne Calderwood and Angela Hill on the back of relentless and overwhelming forward pressure.
The champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, has now successfully defended her title four times consecutively despite minor scares against Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Jedrzejczyk is one of the most precise and damaging strikers in the history of women’s MMA and will destroy anyone who chooses to stand in front of her.
There’ll be plenty of trouble for the challenger if she believes she can continually rush Joanna and step inside striking range without any consideration for striking defence. But that’s all part of Jessica Andrade’s game, and she, in my mind, is one of the ‘grittiest’ pound-for-pound fighters out there. While not preferred, Andrade is willing to eat the numerous shots that Jedrzejczyk will hit her with on the way in so that she can start throwing her around the cage.
On paper, you’d have thought that Angela Hill would be a stiff test for Andrade, but too often she was caught exchanging on the inside with Andrade who would brutally punish the body and ultimately slow down the legs of Hill.
Can Joanna stay away from Andrade for the entire five rounds? I don’t think so. So, what’s going to happen when she closes the distance?
“My difference to the other opponents is that they managed to get to her, but when they did they backed away, they didn’t advance, and that’s the good part of my game: I hit them, and I keep going forward. And the person can hit me, and I’ll keep going too. – MMAJunkie
We’ve seen Joanna be taken down with ease in the past and it will happen again at UFC 211. It’s a matter of what Andrade can do with the opportunities. While I don’t think she can dominate Joanna on the ground, as the champion has excellent scramble ability, in particular against the cage, enough ‘top-control’ and a high volume of strikes could be enough in the eyes of the judges.
Joanna will need to be at her absolute best to beat Jessica Andrade, and it will involve swift movement and precise striking from a distance. Any time that these two get close, it will favour Andrade who will damage the body inside the clinch and force takedowns on Joanna. Once the footwork starts to slow down, so does the striking. Once the striking starts to diminish, Andrade’s forward pressure only improves.
If this remains a striking match-up, Joanna wins every day. But, that’s not going to happen, and Andrade will find opportunities to close the distance, clinch with Joanna and wear her down with ground-and-pound.
I can see the referee being forced to stop the fight while Jessica Andrade unloads on Joanna from top position or a close decision victory for Andrade due to overwhelming pressure, which judges often love.
I recommend taking the outright win bet for Andrade as it represents the best value.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade
Jessica Andrade to Win
Sunday 14th May, 03:30 GMT
Odds: +140 – Bet365