Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (18-6) and Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (10-2) faced each other in a battle of wills last night at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, Florida. The co-main event of the evening was most likely a bout to decide who would face the winner of Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the UFC Strawweight Championship.
Knowing the track record of both of these women, we had an inkling that the fight would not disappoint, but as with most strawweight bouts, it can be hard to gain some hype due to the low weight and somewhat lack of power in the division. Both Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres were ready to blow that stereotype out of the water, with Torres showing off her world-class striking and Jessica Andrade displaying her absolutely terrifying strength, we may have just seen one of the best women’s fights in a long time.
Back and forth
Round one began with Andrade backing Torres up, and both women were secure in their abilities. There was a flurry of back-and-forth throughout, with Torres landing the nastier shots. The ability of Torres to land so impressively while constantly moving backward was a stunning display of her skill level, and it was looking like the underdog was gunning for an upset. Towards the end of the round, Torres cracked Andrade with a stinging punch to stun her for a moment. However, Andrade quickly ran in for the takedown, slamming Torres against the canvas in a sign of what was to come for the rest of the fight. When the bell rang to end the round, it was tough to decide who took it but it looked like Torres had just snatched the first ten points of the bout.
Leading into the second round, the ladies faced off once again going tit-for-tat with their strikes. Then the inevitable happened, and Andrade forced Torres to the ground again, Torres wasn’t giving up and caught her opponent in a reverse triangle position. Although preventing some damage, this submission attempt did not work for “The Tiny Tornado.” The rest of the round culminated in Andrade landing two more takedowns which Torres managed to stand up from, however, we all could see that another takedown was inescapable for Torres and Andrade threw her opponent once more in one of the best displays of strength the division has ever seen. Andrade dominated the round for the most part, and it looked like a draw heading into the third.
The third round was one to seal the deal for 26-year-old Andrade. A mirror of the second round, Andrade’s cardio wasn’t letting up, and the Brazilian repeatedly threw Torres to the ground. Torres wasn’t giving up and took every opportunity to defend herself, getting up as often as she could, only to be taken down again and again. With over a minute to go, Torres was ready to strike again, going toe-to-toe with her opponent. However, Andrade didn’t want this and brought Torres down for the final time, landing 10 takedowns in total over the course of 15 minutes. Andrade snatched the unanimous decision win and the next shot at the strawweight title.
What’s next for Jessica Andrade?
Following last night’s win, Andrade is set to gain a title shot next. Andrade already faced Joanna Jedrzejczyk in May of last year and lost by unanimous decision to the then unstoppable champion. Even if she regains her title, will Joanna be capable of stopping Andrade’s devastating takedowns as displayed last night? Joanna’s striking has been commended for years, and her takedown defense was a major strategy that enabled her to hold on to her belt for so long. We must take note of the fact that Joanna has not seemed herself since losing the belt and it’s looking like Andrade has entered “beast mode” and will let nothing stop her, even someone who managed to beat her before.
A fresh match-up for the division would be Andrade against current champion Rose Namajunas; this is a fight the world needs to see at strawweight. Both women seem to have reached the next-level of their fighting careers and although somewhat veterans in the UFC, could bring a breath of fresh air to the strawweight division in what could be a vicious brawl between two athletes at the top of their game. Andrade’s strength would certainly be an issue for Namajunas, but Rose’s ground game is nothing to be laughed at and once down there, she could cause some problems for the Brazilian.
Regardless of the future, Andrade was a star last night. In a division that may not get the attention or recognition it deserves, we saw two women go out and give their all and show the world that skills translate across the board, no matter how big or small the fighter. Andrade is strong, tactical and confident, a great mix for an athlete that will most likely be competing for a world championship in the coming months.
It’s safe to say that Andrade, at 5’1” has secured herself a place as one of the most intimidating women in the UFC, and there’s plenty more where that came from.