About six months after an impressive debut in the flyweight division, where she defeated former No. 1 contender Katlyn Chookagian of TKO in the first round, former Straw Queen Jessica Andrade won the title against Valentina Shevchenko.
Andrade will enter UFC 261 on Saturday as an underdog against the 125-pound champion king. The Brazilian has a clear plan to play in Shevchenko’s neutron.
“Jennifer Maya has shown that if you can make a good throw, stabilize and attack with ground and pounds, this is a good way to get her in trouble. “I will expose Valentina’s weaknesses,” Andrade told Sherdog.com. “I know exactly how strong I am when I catch my opponents in the cage and lift them off the floor. There is no way out. The interesting point in this race is that my strengths are its weaknesses and the smaller Octagon [the
UFC Apex] will be better for me in this fight. “
Andrade acknowledges, however, that the champion has advantages in the stand-up game.
“She is definitely the best female striker in the sport,” said Andrade. “The way he moves, the kicks, the counters. It’s really scary. But that’s going to be another interesting point in our fight. end because we never trained together, but all I can say is that we will win a “Fight of the Night” bonus. “
As someone with experience facing both Rose Namajunas (twice) and Weili Zhang, Andrade shared her view on why she thinks “Thug Rose” should be the favorite in the title race scheduled for the UFC 261 co-main event.
“Weili is very strong and resilient, but Rose is a more complete fighter and also hits hard,” said Andrade. “In addition, he has the advantage of approach and speed, which will play an important role in this fight. It will be a difficult one, but my bet is that Namajunas will take the belt.”
In an ideal scenario, Andrade would beat Shevchenko to win a gold flyweight and then challenge Zhang-Namajunas’ winner in a bid to become a two-time champion.
“The perfect night will beat Valentina who is, in my opinion, one of the best female fighters of all time and capture the flyweight belt,” Andrade said. “After that, return to the Octagon a few minutes later to challenge the straw champion for a rematch.
“If Rose wins, it would be great to have the opportunity to play rubber with him. If Weili wins this would be great, because I would love to face her again without illegal elbows in my neck. The chance to be the first woman to have UFC and straw belts in two races after 10 years of hard work and dedication to this sport would be, without a doubt, my biggest dream. ”