UFC 237: Rose Namajunas Defends Women’s Strawweight Championship vs. Jessica Andrade

Posted on: May 11, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: May 10, 2019, 01:58h.

UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas will look to defend her title for a second time on Saturday night when she battles No. 1 contender Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UFC 237 Namajunas Andrade
Rose Namajunas is traveling to Brazil to defend her title against Jessica Andrade at UFC 237. (Image: MMA Junkie)

Andrade comes into the fight as a -130 favorite according to Bovada, with the current champion Namajunas receiving even money odds.

Namajunas Defending Belt on the Road

Namajunas (8-3) has been preparing to fight Andrade (19-6) for some time now. In fact, the UFC was ready to have the two meet up for a title fight in March. But Namajunas insisted that she wanted the fight to take place in Andrade’s home country of Brazil in order to up the challenge level.

That has made what was already a dangerous fight into one where Namajunas is an underdog to retain her title, although most are expecting a highly competitive contest. But the champion still feels confident that she can handle the challenge of fighting Andrade on her home turf.

“This is not something new. I’m always the underdog,” Namajunas told TMZ. “And, it makes sense. Andrade, when you look at her highlights, when you look at her physique, and you look what she does to girls, it’s pretty intimidating.”

Andrade Showcases Devastating Power

Andrade is riding a three-fight winning streak, and is coming off a first-round, one-punch knockout of Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 228 last September that set up her title opportunity. Andrade is one of the most powerful fighters at 115 pounds, and was capable of scoring knockouts even when she was fighting one or two weight classes up.

That has led some to believe that Andrade might just win this fight in the opening minutes, getting to the champion with early pressure that Namajunas won’t be able to withstand. But that might also show how the American could hold on to her title. By moving, striking from range, and playing the long game, she might be able to outlast Andrade in a five-round championship fight.

According to Namajunas, whether or not that actually happens, she has no regrets about taking this fight.

“I didn’t have to take this fight, I didn’t have to come to Brazil and leave my home to fight this girl, but at the same time it’s a huge opportunity and it’s a great way to reach my potential and give it a shot,” Namajunas told The MMA Hour last week. “And if that doesn’t happen, then you know that’s meant to be and that’s really all there is to it. But I just have to do my best.”

As with most pay-per-view events, UFC 237 also features a number of other attractive fights up and down the card. In the co-main event, middleweight contender Jared Cannonier (-140) will take on Brazilian legend and former champion Anderson Silva (+110), who still looks to have something left in the tank despite having five losses and a no contest in his last seven fights.

Other bouts include a featherweight clash between Jose Aldo (-140) and Alexander Volkanovski (+110), as well as a welterweight contest pitting Thiago Alves (-120) against Argentinian newcomer Laureano Staropoli (-110).