Jessica Andrade was stellar in her win over Invicta FC strawweight champion Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night 104 on Saturday in Houston.
Andrade entered the fight having won back-to-back bouts since dropping to the strawweight division, while Hill returned to the UFC after having captured the Invicta FC crown. Both were looking to lay claim to a shot at current UFC 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
While Hill tried to use movement and distance to maximize her reach advantage, Andrade continually stormed into punching range and lit Hill up with powerful punch combinations. Not simply head-hunting, Andrade also did a lot of work to the body throughout the opening frame that paid dividends later in the fight.
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Andrade kept the pressure on in round two, constantly stalking Hill and moving in on her with a blitzkrieg of head and body shots. Hill had some promising moments, particularly using her knees well, but Andrade adjusted and put a new twist on her strategy late in the round, twice taking Hill to the canvas.
Round three opened with a furious punching exchange with both women getting their shots in, but it was quickly obvious that Andrade’s earlier body work had caught up to Hill.
Although she never went down, Hill ate shot after shot throughout the remainder of the fight, breathing heavily in between Andrade’s assaults. They fought it out to the final bell, but Hill’s offensive attacks dwindled in time with the seconds on the clock.
The judges unanimously awarded the fight to Andrade, all of them scoring the fight 30-27 in her favor.
Though she may have been able to finish the fight if she had taken it more frequently to the ground, Andrade said post-fight that her plan all along was to out-duel Hill on the feet, even though it was a tougher task.
“We knew that Hill was going to be a very tough opponent. We knew we had to work the body to make the fight a little bit easier, but still, the girl was so tough,” said Andrade, before turning her talk to titles.
“I wanted to make sure that I was up to par to get the Invicta belt. So, now I’m the Invicta champion, uncrowned, but still, Invicta champion,” she said. “And now I’m coming for the UFC belt, so Joanna, just get ready.”
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