Jessica Andrade: Fighting Valentina Shevchenko was always the plan
Jessica Andrade was on a three-fght win streak beat Rose Namajunas via slam KO at UFC 237 on May 11, 2019 to win the women’s strawweight championship. “Bate Estaca” (Pile Driver) won Fight of the Night and an additional performance bonus for the victory. But in her first title defense, Andrade lost the title to the seemingly unstoppable Zhang Weili. And then she lost a rematch with Namajunas.
It took eight years and 26 fights to reach the title shot, and now, on Saturday night at UFC on ESPN+ 38, Andrade, 29, is debuting at flyweight. She intends to get a title quickly, and the UFC is game – her division debut is vs. #1 contender at 125 Katlyn Chookagian. With a win, division champion Valentina Shevchenko is next.
“I didn’t expect anything less from the UFC due to my history, everything I’ve done,” said Andrade at Wednesday’s media day. “It was supposed to be Jessica Eye. She had to have surgery, but I got Katlyn, which is great. I didn’t expect anything less.”
“She’s got good ground game. Even though she’s not that powerful, she’s always [going]. She’s always landing good shots. I think the difference is going to be shortening the range and taking her down and working her on the ground.”
The desire to fight “Bullet” is not a new one.
“That was the plan before,” said Andrade. “I wanted to fight Valentina for the belt in her division. But now, moving up, I’m definitely working up and I think this fight puts me right there in a good spot for that argument.
“She’s extraordinary. She’s beyond anyone else, and I think she’s better than any girl right there, and she’s the girl to beat right now. It used to be Ronda, and now it’s Valentina. That’s the girl to beat in the UFC.”
What do you think UG? Does Andrade beat Chookagian? And if she does, does she beat Shevchenko?Join the discussion on this topic...