UFC 211 Cheat Sheet -- Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade
The UFC heads to Dallas on Saturday with a pair of championship fights atop UFC 211 inside American Airlines Center.
Let's take a closer look at all the top fights on the card with ESPN's Cheat Sheets, UFC 211 edition. For full UFC 211 coverage, click here.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (13-0) vs. Jessica Andrade (16-5), Strawweight ChampionshipOdds: Jedrzejczyk -155; Andrade +135
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, future two-weight champion?
As Joanna Jedrzejczyk prepares for arguably her toughest strawweight title defense to date, she has also been bombarded with questions about the UFC's newest weight class.
This week, the UFC officially announced it will launch a 125-pound female flyweight division. The announcement was embraced by Jedrzejczyk, who has openly discussed the need for a 125-pound weight class in the UFC before. The timing of the announcement could have probably been better, but Jedrzejczyk isn't thrown off by such things.
"I used to fight at flyweight when I was competing in muay Thai," Jedrzejczyk said. "A year ago, I said I wanted to become the first UFC female fighter to hold two belts in two different weight divisions. This year, I want to be focused on 115 pounds -- and maybe next year I will fight for a second belt."
Jedrzejczyk eyes her fifth title defense this weekend. When asked if she'd rather capture a second title or pursue the UFC's record of 10 consecutive title defenses, Jedrzejczyk chose the former.
"I want to hold two belts," Jedrzejczyk said. "I've built my legacy. I have done so much. I feel this fire. I want to do more. I have bigger goals in my life and fighting career. Five years ago, [UFC president Dana White] said there won't be female fighters in the UFC. Now we are headlining shows. I like to be first, and I want to be the first female champion in two weight classes."
"It's a technical striker vs. an aggressive puncher"
Andrade received a $50,000 bonus for her last fight, against Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night in February, and she told reporters in Brazil this month that money went back into her training.
Andrade, a 25-year-old Brazilian, invested in a full-size Octagon for her camp in Rio de Janeiro. She said it's the first time the PRVT gym in Rio de Janeiro has had one.
For someone who grew up on a small farm, Andrade has always brought a blue-collar approach to her training and, really, her fighting style. She readily admits as much. Jedrzejczyk is known as one of the most technical practitioners in the world, and Andrade said she won't try to match her in that area.
"This fight is going to test her skills," Andrade said through a translator. "I don't think she has faced anybody who puts the pressure on like I do. I know that I'm certainly stronger than her and more aggressive than her. It's a technical striker against an aggressive puncher, so we'll see how that goes. I really like my chances in this fight."
Andrade should have a good idea of exactly what she'll face Saturday, because she and Jedrzejczyk used to share the same manager and briefly trained together before. Andrade said there wasn't any one thing she took from that experience, but it seems reasonable to say it certainly wasn't a disadvantage.
"We were professional about it," Andrade said about the experience. "She has been super nice to me every time I met her. We had a chance to train with each other and got along. We developed quite a relationship, but there isn't anything that I can take advantage of from that. Overall, we're professionals, and we'll see how it goes on fight night."
- Jedrzejczyk: 13-0 (7-0 UFC); making fifth defense of UFC strawweight title
- Jedrzejczyk: Five wins in UFC title fights, second all time for female fighters (Ronda Rousey, six)
- Jedrzejczyk: Second-longest-reigning champion among active UFC titleholders (won title in 2015)
- Jedrzejczyk: Outlanded opponents 746-245 in significant strikes in five UFC title fights, according to FightMetric
- Andrade: 16-5 (7-3 UFC); three-fight winning streak dating back to June 2016
- Andrade: Five wins by knockout, seven wins by submission (six by guillotine choke)
- Andrade: Lands 52 percent of strikes in UFC fights, according to FightMetric (Jedrzejczyk lands 47 percent)
- Andrade: Four of five career losses by stoppage (two by knockout, two by submission)
For someone with such strong roots in muay Thai, it's impressive how well Jedrzejczyk uses the fence to her advantage.
She has used it to prop herself up against attempted takedowns and to land hard knees to her opponents' exposed midsection. And if an opponent attempts to walk her to the cage and strike, Jedrzejczyk is very good at getting into a Thai clinch and rotating that opponent, essentially reversing the position.
That ability to get into a clinch and manipulate positions -- not to mention the elbows and knees Jedrzejczyk lands there -- could be key. Despite dropping two weight classes to fight at 115 pounds, Andrade is compact and always pressing in. Trapping an opponent against the fence is a staple of her game. If Jedrzejczyk's clinch neutralizes that threat, she'd be beating Andrade at her own game in a way.
Andrade isn't a mysterious opponent, but that doesn't mean Jedrzejczyk should take her lightly. Oddsmakers aren't, if you look at the betting line. Andrade is similar to UFC male bantamweight John Lineker in some ways -- both use effective body punches and a lead hook and work into that boxing range. Jedrzejczyk's length is an issue for anyone, but if Andrade can press her and avoid that clinch, she'll smother Jedrzejczyk's rangy jab and kicks. When she has an opponent hurt, watch for Andrade's signature guillotine.
And as dominant as Jedrzejczyk has been, it's not as if she has been invincible. Claudia Gadelha knocked her down with a punch in the opening seconds of their rematch last summer. Karolina Kowalkiewicz, not known for her power, staggered Jedrzejczyk when they fought at UFC 205 in November. For such a disciplined, well-prepared champion, Jedrzejczyk will drop her hands sometimes and get caught.
That the fight is scheduled for five rounds isn't a huge concern for Andrade, but it has to favor Jedrzejczyk. Andrade has never fought five rounds, and Jedrzejczyk is a cardio machine, landing more than 170 total strikes in each of her past three title defenses
Okamoto's prediction: Jedrzejczyk via decision
You make the call: