The co-main event spot belongs to two of the fiercest female fighters in the UFC today as strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is set to mix it up with fellow striker and all around beast Jessica Andrade. The two women are known for the ferocity and willingness to mix things up on the feet. Both are warriors in the truest sense of the word with the kind of never say die mindset that makes for epic battles, not to mention brutal beat downs.
For Joanna Jendrzejczyk battling things out on the feet is a foregone conclusion. Her style consists of sharp jabs, front kicks and leg kicks to start things off. While she is willing to mix things up, her preferred method is to get reads on her opponent before throwing herself into the thick of things. Once she understands the range she’s sure to start following up her jab with a strong cross, a hook off of a rear kick, and variety of different punching combinations. While she does fight in the pocket from
time to time, she much rather land her strikes, pivot out and regain distance before engaging again.
In this bout with Andrade, Joanna Jedrzejczyk has a truly tough test. Andrade is likely to be the bigger woman come fight time and is likely to have a power advantage. Nevertheless, the challenger is at a reach disadvantage, which means Joanna is going to want to stick that jab, land the front kick up the center, and counter off of Andrade’s pressure when she comes forward. Joanna must be diligent with how far she pushes forward. Andrade being the smaller party will go to the body consistently. It’s a bigger target than the head and harder to miss. But since Andrade likes to bulldoze forward, lateral movement as well as pivoting will be key to Joanna landing hard counter punches. While Andrade may not have an insane wrestling pedigree, she’s more than willing to tie up and dump a girl on her back. That means Joanna can’t over commit on anything unless she’s on a deep outside or inside angle with her hips off the center line.
It’s hard to believe that Jessica Andrade was once competitive as a bantamweight, but that nasty power really made up for her size disadvantage. She is one of those fighters that is reminiscent of the old school, aggressive Chute Boxe style. Andrade fights like a hybrid of Wanderlei Silva and John Lineker. She’ll throw powerful kicks and come down throwing hooks like Silva. She’ll punch her way into range and work the body with consistent body hooks reminiscent of Lineker. But against the champion Jessica Andrade will need to bring all her tools to the table. In fact, those body shots in particular are going to be a major factor in this fight (more on that later). Takedowns should also be on the menu as she’s proficient in a number of different techniques.
Andrade’s height disadvantage means playing the outside game is highly unlikely. She needs to close the distance on Joanna Jedrzejczyk right out of the gate. But she can’t afford to just bull rush forward and get clipped. A distance jab into a low calf kick will unbalance the champ long enough for Andrade to close distance where should immediately work the body. It will be hard to divorce herself from her hooking punches, but she’ll want to mix things up with jabs, straights and feints throughout. Some low kicks into front kicks to the straight cross to the body could push the champ to the cage. Then and only then should a lunging hook be unleashed. If the champ’s back is against the cage then there will be nowhere for Jedrzejczyk to go except either left or right. That means Andrade’s right or left hooks will be awaiting her on the exit. The cage is super important in this fight. If Andrade can get Jedrzejczyk to the cage early and often, stay diligent with body and leg work, it’s only a matter of time until she walks into something devastating.
Does Joanna Jedrzejczyk keep her belt or can Jessica Andrade become the next champion?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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