Just In UFC champ Jessica Andrade: Title-winning slam KO wasn’t just luck, ‘we trained for this’ MMA Life

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Jessica Andrade won the UFC strawweight championship in an unusual but spectacular way.

She defeated Rose Namajunas via second-round slam knockout in May at UFC 237 in a fight she had been losing. And while Andrade’s finish has been dismissed as lucky to some, Andrade (20-6 MMA, 11-4 UFC) says it’s something that she and her team had been preparing for.

After all, her nickname is “bate estaca,” which translates to “pile driver” in English.

“Some people might say I get lucky, but we trained for this,” Andrade recently told MMA Junkie. “Instead of slamming her, if I punched her and she dropped, would that be luck, too? I don’t really know what is good or bad luck. I just know I trained hard to make that win happen. It was earned during my training. I did the same move against Tecia Torres, Claudia Gadelha, and Joanna (Jedrzejczyk). The main difference is that Rose kept hanging on to my arm before being dropped.”

The gameplan at UFC 237, according to Andrade, was to be patient. She was just waiting to see how the fight would play out, hence the slow start.

“Against Rose, we already predicted she’d win the first round,” Andrade said. “We wanted to see what strategy she planned on using. She said she was going to rub my face into the mat and submit me. She could have done what she did against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, which is to push forward. Or she could have done what Joanna did against me, which is to go in and out. But Rose doesnt have Joanna’s skill to move sideways. She usually just moves forward and backward.”

Namajunas was able to pick apart Andrade on the feet. It was looking like “Thug Rose” was on her way to a masterclass performance before Andrade turned to her grappling. She didn’t think Namajunas would be able to keep this strategy up over the course of five rounds.

“We knew that, in later rounds, we’d impose our strategy and win by KO or submission,” Andrade said. “She wouldn’t be able to keep up her approach for five rounds, especially since I employed thigh kicks for the first time. She wasn’t expecting it. She talked about her legs aching after our fight. It slowed her down. I was able to connect more with strikes and get the finish via slam.”

After a failed attempt to capture the strawweight title vs. Jedrzejczyk at UFC 211, Andrade was finally able to realize her lifelong dream in an emotional moment she shared with her team following her comeback win vs. Namajunas.

Andrade now is set to turn around for her first title defense when she takes on Weili Zhang in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 15 on Saturday.

“I was very happy with that accomplishment,” Andrade said. “I toiled and suffered to get there. Today I’m the champion. It is possible to conquer anything if you give your best. That’s what I did. I improved my striking, submissions and overall technique. Each time, I’ll be better. I believe I still have much to learn, and I can evolve even more. Every fight will be different. Now I’ll be defending my belt. I’ve always said once I become champion, I’d stay very active.

“Dana White asked me to defend now, and I’ve accepted. It’s fight time.”

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