Jessica Andrade’s one-punch knockout of Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 228 may have earned her another strawweight title shot down the road, but “Bate Estaca” would have been willing to fight for championship gold on Saturday in Dallas.
The 26-year-old Brazilian told reporters at the post-fight press conference that she offered to step in and face Valentina Shevchenko in the co-main event after flyweight champion Nicco Montano withdrew from the bout due to weight-cut issues. However, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation nixed that idea.
In the end, the co-main event encounter between Montano and Shevchenko was canceled. UFC President Dana White announced that Montano would be stripped of the belt and Shevchenko would face a different opponent for the vacant title at a later date.
“I even offered to fight for the belt if they agreed to, but since they had already weighed me and done all the work, I wasn’t allowed by the athletic commission,” Andrade said. “But I’m happy I was able to help the promotion, help the UFC with a great show and excite people.”
Before moving to 115 pounds, Andrade compiled a 5-3 mark as a bantamweight in the UFC. She has since gone 6-1 at strawweight and could be on the verge of her second title shot in the weight class.
“I knew I was going to get this knockout,” Andrade said. “I trained so hard my muay Thai, I came very strong for this fight. I had in my mind: if she punches me, I’ll punch even harder. I didn’t expect to be that quick, because Karolina is really tough, but I can only celebrate. When I look to the past, I see how much I have evolved, and I’m just learning everyday a little bit more.”