February 23, 2018

UFC on FOX 28: Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres Could Decide Next Strawweight Title Contender

By Adam Martin

The UFC strawweight division is wide open these days. After Rose Namajunas knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk in shocking fashion back at UFC 217, anything is possible now in the 115-pound division. Though Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk will first have to rematch at UFC 223 before anything else can be set in stone, it seems like at this point the fight between top contenders Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres at UFC on FOX 28 will determine the next title contender.

The Andrade vs. Torres fight takes place this Saturday night in Orlando, Florida, and it's arguably the most important fight on the card in terms of title implications, even more so than the main event men's featherweight bout between Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens. It's a shame that this fight isn't scheduled for five rounds, as it's almost certainly a #1 contender's fight for 115, but it still should be a heck of a fight for the 15 minutes it's set for.

Andrade is entering the fight as a significant favorite following her dominant win over Claudia Gadelha. Andrade is now 4-1 since dropping down to 115, with her only loss coming to Jedrzejczyk in a hard-fought five-round title fight back at UFC 211. Overall the 26-year-old Brazilian is 8-4 in the UFC and continues to improve every time we see her. She's an incredibly powerful strawweight who also has a high-volume striking attack to go along with dangerous submissions and excellent durability. Andrade is one of the most complete fighters at 115, so both a rematch against Jedrzejczyk and a fresh fight against Namajunas would be exciting matchups for the fans.

Torres is currently riding a three-fight win streak, and overall she is 6-1 in the UFC, with her only loss coming against Namajunas, though she also holds a win over Namajunas from back in their Invicta FC days. Torres is just 28, and the American continues to get better every time we see her. Long criticized for not finishing her fights, a submission win over Juliana Lima last year showed fans that she can indeed score finishes at this level. But even if she doesn't finish Andrade, a win alone would likely put Torres next in line for a title shot. A trilogy matchup against Namajunas would obviously hold a significant amount of appeal, and a fresh fight against Jedrzeczyk would be fun as well. Regardless of who wins between Andrade and Torres and Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk, the UFC looks to be in good shape as far as future matchups go.

While Andrade is a big favorite to beat Torres, it's hard to count out "Tiny Tornado" so quickly. Both women are physically strong, both have excellent striking, both have really good wrestling, and both are very durable and hard to finish. It makes for an intriguing matchup and one that will almost certainly determine who next gets to fight for the 115 belt, regardless of whether it's Namajunas or Jedrzejczyk holding it. May the best woman win.

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