During her rise to title contender as a strawweight, Jessica Andrade became known for her relentless standup attack.
Against a powerful grappler like Claudia Gadelha at UFC Fight Night 117, it seemed that Andrade’s biggest advantage would be on the feet. While “Bate Estaca” certainly had her moments in exchanges, it was her takedowns and ground-and-pound that ultimately carried her to a dominant unanimous decision win in Saitama, Japan, on Friday night.
While Gadelha started the fight getting the better of Andrade on the feet, she had no answer for her opponent on the canvas. That was a stark contrast to most of Gadelha’s fights, when she is usually able to overpower her adversaries.
“We knew what she was gonna do, and we were able to strategize pretty well for that. We knew she was going to start standing, and once the hands started getting in she was probably going to start to try to take it to the ground,” Andrade said on Fox Sports 1.
“Another big strategy was getting takedowns closer to the end of the round. That worked out pretty well because we knew that would really mess with her head. Just using her game against her and being more proficient at it than her. It worked.”
If some found her method of victory surprising, Andrade points out that she was a grappler first.
“People forget that I start in jiu-jitsu. In this weight class I was more of a striker…but takedowns and top control are really my bread and butter,” she said. “I just happen to be getting pretty good at standup too.”
All told, Andrade set a UFC strawweight record with 242 total strikes landed. Included in that total were 78 significant ground strikes. In the process, Andrade became the only person besides reigning 115-pound champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk to hand Gadelha a loss. While Andrade is just one bout removed from a clear-cut defeat of her own against the Polish champion, she knows a rematch might not be too far away.
“I get to be ranked No. 1, so [there’s] nowhere else to go. I guess I should be getting a title shot sometime soon,” Andrade said. “It’s still a little bit [too soon] from when I [first] fought Joanna. I’ve just got to keep working harder so when my time comes, I’m better than I was before.”