01 Jan Jessica Andrade vows to prove violent KO win over Rose Namajunas was no fluke
Many people saw Jessica Andrade’s brutal knockout over Rose Namajunas as a fluke, pure luck.
Andrade sees the rematch as a chance to prove them wrong.
The 28-year-old Brazilian, who became the UFC strawweight champion in May 2019 with a second-round stoppage of the American star, was willing to grant Namajunas an immediate rematch before the ex-champ flirted with retirement. One year later, Andrade no longer holds the belt, and they are finally meeting again.
Andrade vs. Namajunas 2 goes down on the main card portion of UFC 251, scheduled for July 11 in Abu Dhabi, and the Brazilian is “happy and honored” to “give her the same opportunity she gave me.”
“I don’t know if [Namajunas] thinks [it was a fluke], but I know she really wants this rematch; she wants to show she’s has gotten better and evolved, that she has what it takes to beat me,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “There are a lot of American fans and a lot of Brazilian fans that say it was luck, but I know it wasn’t luck. I was ready for all that. I knew what I had to do in the fight and how it would go down. If I hadn’t won that way [the win] would have come any other way, the next round, or even the next one.
“I don’t know what goes inside Rose’s mind, but she has this strength inside of her to prove herself, to evolve after every fight. She has this desire to get better and win every time she stumbles. I believe she’s coming to prove that by fighting me.
“If it was lucky, she will be able to beat me, and if it wasn’t, I’ll win – and the mutual respect continues.”
Abu Dhabi is a traditional destination for grappling practitioners. The United Arab Emirates hosts multiple tournaments with cash on the line, a rare occurrence on the jiu-jitsu circuit. For Andrade, who loves to competing with the gi when she’s not in camp for MMA fights, being in Abu Dhabi for a UFC show is special.
She’s not going after a submission, though.
“I’ve envisioned this fight ending in many different forms,” Andrade said. “By points, by knockout, by submission. But, in my head, a knockout would be way cooler. That’s what people love to watch, and that would give me an opportunity to win a bonus as well [laughs]. Any type of knockout. A kick, a punch… I’ve been training many things. I’m more mature, more experienced, and calmer than my last fight.”
“Bate Estaca’s” last appearance under the bright lights of the UFC only ended 42 seconds, enough time for Zhang Weili to dethrone her in China. Even though Andrade doesn’t know if a title shot is on the line for her on “Fight Island,” the Brazilian strawweight vows to impress.
“I changed my entire strategy, changed the way I fight,” Andrade said. “I’m still aggressive and strong, but I changed the way I walk, the way I move. This will be my way of proving I’ve gotten better and I can fight Zhang Weili again.”