MMA Ratings Podcast

May 9, 2019

UFC 237: Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade Offers A Style Matchup Worth Watching

By Raphael Garcia

On Saturday night, UFC 237 features a main event in which either Rose Namajunas or Jessica Andrade can take a step further towards becoming a bigger star for the promotion. Namajunas is the defending UFC Women's Strawweight Champion, but it seems like the UFC sees this fight as a prime opportunity to boost Andrade’s stock.
From an oddsmaker’s standpoint, the challenger is the slight favorite, as according to Best Fight Odds, Andrade can be found within the range of -120 to -140. Andrade is also the hometown fighter, and she has been much more active than Namajunas. But although Andrade has become somewhat of a wrecking ball of violence within the division, there are several questions that linger as further analysis of this fight takes shape.

On one side there is Namajunas. The 26-year-old fighter stands at 5’5, and while that may not seem like much of a stature, she towers over her opponent, who is at 5’1. This height advantage should allow her to use her range in striking. But the focus shouldn't just be on her three-inch arm reach advantage; the length of her legs should also come into play. Namajunas has shown time and again that she can adequately control range with her kicks; she even landed a blistering head kick that dropped Michelle Waterson at UFC on Fox 24. Andrade struggled to close the gap against the former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, back at UFC 211. Expect Namajunas to try to put Andrade in the same position.

That turns the question to whether Andrade is capable of closing the distance and creating an ugly fight. This is where she thrives, as four of her last five fights have gone to a decision. She uses a calculated brawling style to overcome opponents, which paid off at UFC 228, where she quickly overwhelmed Karolina Kowalkiewicz for one of the most stunning knockouts the division has seen. We can expect Andrade to come out of the gate in a very aggressive fashion and look to pressure Namajunas into a bad mistake or position early.

In two of Andrade’s decision victories, she was able to secure takedowns late in rounds, which allowed her to pile up points against Tecia Torres and Claudia Gadelha. Against Jedrzejczyk, however, her opponent was able to fight off those takedown attempts, which opened the door for Jedrzejczyk to run away with the striking in the later rounds. If Namajunas, who is a grappler at heart, can do the same thing to Andrade, it will be interesting to see what strategy "Bate Estaca" employs to overcome that hurdle.

Mixed martial arts battles don’t always have compelling narratives, but when styles clash in an intriguing way, that can make a fight equally – if not more – alluring. This weekend’s main event between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade is one such matchup. When the stakes are the highest, that should raise the bar on these fighters' performances.

UFC 237
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade (UFC Women's Strawweight Championship)

UFC 237: Namajunas vs. Andrade takes place May 11, 2019 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Click HERE for more UFC 237 Pre-Fight Analysis

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