In a country that has birthed multiple champions and arguably some of the greatest mix martial artists of all time, the UFC will make its return to Brazil for UFC 237 this Saturday, May 11. Jessica Andrade (19-6-0) will look to add her name to the list of Brazilian UFC champions by defeating the current Strawweight champ, “Thug” Rose Namajunas (8-3-0).
A post shared by UFC (@ufc_brasil) on May 6, 2019 at 4:52am PDT
Andrade may be the challenger but after showing vicious knockout power in her most recent victory against Karolina Kowalkiewicz (who happens to be the last person to have defeated the champ), it’s not hard to be convinced why the odds makers have her as the slight favorite going into this weekend’s title fight. With her home-crowd behind her, Andrade will look to make the most of her second crack at the strawweight title. In 2017, she came up short against Joanna but since then has won 3 straight in a row against Gadelha, Torres and Kowalkiewicz.
A post shared by Rose Namajunas (@rosenamajunas) on Dec 13, 2017 at 2:53pm PST
As for Rose, this will be the first time her and several in her fight camp compete outside of the United States. For a fighter that’s mental toughness has been questioned, this has to be a middle finger to all of those doubters. It’s been nearly 3 years since Thug Rose felt the taste of defeat and it seems impressive but she’s only fought 3 times in the last 3 years. Credit to her though, 2 of those 3 fights (the two most recent) were against the then self-proclaimed Strawweight Queen, Joanna “Champion”. Who at the time of defeat seemed unbeatable and throughout press–conferences and media tours leading up to the fight publicly questioned Namajunas’ mental health and toughness. That was until UFC 217 in New York, when Rose TKO’D the champ in the 1st round leading Daniel Cormier to shout “ THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE!” creating a moment that many fight fans will have embedded in their memories forever. Five months later a rematch was granted, this time Rose carried the strap around her waist and once again proved to be a thorn that Joanna couldn’t get out, “and still”. However, with a new title defense comes a new opponent.
A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Jessica Andrade (@jessicammapro) on May 10, 2019 at 5:00pm PDT
Andrade will provide a different opponent for the first time in 3 years and more importantly a different type of challenge stylistically. Andrade has made for the most part, light work of the strawweight division. Victorious in all of her strawweight fights except for one– her lone failed attempt at the title. Andrade can best be described as a wrecking ball because she continuously keeps coming forward and has a gas tank that, if need be, could probably go 10 rounds. She is a mauler and swings hooks with malicious intent, willing to take a punch to give one of her own.
Vamos Brasil 💪🏻🇧🇷 . . . 👉🏻Esse Cocar lindo é da @caciquebrasil 👑. . 📸 @budamendes #ufcrio #ufcbrasil #ufc237 #ufc #ufcnocombate #prvt #prvtgirls #vamoscomtudo #vemvitoria #vemcinturão #fightweek #brasileira #india #orgulho #wmma #mma#mma
A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Jessica Andrade (@jessicammapro) on May 9, 2019 at 5:06pm PDT
When both these ladies have made the walk to the octagon and all that stands between these two warriors is Bruce Buffers’ “ITS TIME”, the Jeunesse Arena will be packed, if not sold out, with a dominate Brazilian fan-base backing their own, the challenger. With Several hundred thousand, if not millions, of people watching all over the world. Rose, who has been shadowed by mental health which stems back all the way to her father’s roots, will look to show the world that she is (once again) above that stigma. Charting into enemy territory to defend her title, Rose will look to show that she is physically and mentally superior than most know– outside of the octagon but more importantly inside of it. While Andrade will look to have her home crowd behind her and leave it all inside the octagon, looking to become champ in front of her beloved. Knowing that second chances don’t come often – a second failed attempt may have Andrade going back to the drawing board with more questions than answers. Till then though, the only question that matters is who will reign supreme of the strawweight division? Will Rose continue to spread her roots all over the division or will Andrade’s relentless style prove to be to much for a “thug”?
Be sure to tune into UFC 237 on ESPN+(Exclusively in the U.S.) for all the action this Saturday live from Brazil!