The UFC returns to Brazil where the UFC 237 women’s strawweight title fight between champion Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrada will happen on May 11, 2019 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Along with Andrade, Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo are the other more prominent Brazilians fighting in this event. Silva is booked to fight Jared Cannonier while Aldo is fighting Alexander Volkanovski.
Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade
Rose Namajunas is coming off back to back victories over Joanna Jedrzejczyk and both came at a time when Joanna was deemed unbeatable. When people called his knockout win over Joanna a fluke, Rose came back and outstruck Joanna in a five-round war. Namajunas loves to come forward and pressure her opponents by throwing jabs and kicks.
Thug Rose is 5-5 tall with a reach of 65 inches. She has a record of 8-3 with 1 knockout and 5 submission victories. The only worry with Namajunas is that she hasn’t fought since her second win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk last April. She has been sidelined with neck injuries and also after being traumatized by Conor McGregor’s infamous bus attack.
Odds from betonline.ag as of 4/16/19
Andrade has won three in a row since losing to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She scored lopsided decisions over Claudia Gadelha and Tecia Torres plus a knockout win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her last fight. She is a short fighter but is physically dominating and has knockout power.
The 27-year old Brazilian has a record of 19-6 with six knockouts and seven submission wins. She stands 5-1 with a reach of 62 inches. Bate Estaca is 6-1 as a strawweight with her only loss to Joanna in a fight where she was dominated from start to finish. She owns a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Gilliard Parana.
From the side of MMA betting, this is the third straight fight where Namajunas is the underdog. She closed as a huge +525 underdog in her first bout with Joanna Jedrzejczyk and again was a -107 to Joanna’s -113 during the rematch. She won both bouts convincingly so being underdog here is nothing new to Thug Rose.
As for Andrade, she was a heavy favorite against Kowalkiewicz at -450 in her last bout and has been a favorite in her last three bouts, all of which she won decisively. While there’s a reason why she should be the favorite here, it does come as a surprise because Namajunas is coming off back to back wins against the best fighter in this division. And to think that Joanna Jedrzejczyk oustruck Andrade 225-83 in total strikes when they fought in 2017, I’m not sure why Thug Rose is the underdog here. Well that’s good for us because we have the champion, who has the size advantage and who may be the more technically skilled fighter between the two at plus money.
Bate Estaca may be shorter than Namajunas but she is the bigger fighter here having fought at bantamweight before. Andrade even has a win over the durable and hard-hitting Raquel Pennington. Andrade has out-landed her last three opponents 432-160 but I don’t think that’s happening against Thug Rose. She may look fragile and look quiet but when that bell rings, she’s a Thug. Just ask Joanna that.
While Andrade is a knockout artist, Namajunas has never been stopped before. When you take a look at the stats, Andrade lands more strikes per minute at 6.38 versus 3.72 and secures more takedowns per 15 minutes at 3.2 versus 2.34 but this isn’t about numbers. It’s about who has the skill, experience and ability to rise to the occasion. Namajunas has elite striking, she outstruck Joanna Jedrzejczyk twice in successive fights. She also has five wins via submission so she is a well-rounded fighter. I think this will be exciting and I think UFC 237 will be a war. The champion has been here before and knows what to do.
Prediction: Rose Namajunas via decision
Jose Aldo vs Alex Volkanovski
Since his back to back losses to Max Holloway, Jose Aldo has bounced back with back to back victories over Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano. Both wins have come via knockout and both earned Aldo Performance of the Night bonuses. Aldo is 28-4 with 17 wins by knockout. He stands 5-7 with a reach of 70 inches while fighting at the orthodox style. Aldo hasn’t been the same since getting knocked out in 13 seconds by Conor McGregor.
Odds from betonline.ag as of 4/16/19
Alexander Volkanovski is ranked 4th in the UFC featherweight division although you may have never heard of him yet. I don’t blame you because Jose Aldo doesn’t even know him yet. But for those of you who follow the UFC closely, Volkanovski hasn’t lost in almost six years, picking 16 consecutive wins. The 30-year old Aussie is 6-0 with 3 knockouts in the UFC. He is 19-1 with 11 knockouts and 3 submissions. Volkanovski is 5-6 and has a reach of 71 inches and fights as an orthodox
As we said earlier, Aldo has not looked the same since losing to McGregor. In recent fights, we’ve seen him abandon his leg kicks and focus more on counter-punching. That resulted to him getting hit often during pocket exchanges which may leave an opening for Volkanovski’s power punches.
The key here is going to be the takedowns because Volkanovski is an excellent wrestler and a very good grappler. Putting Aldo and his 92% takedown defense to the ground is going to be a tough job. If Volkanovski can do it, this will be his fight to win. If not, I expect Aldo to out-strike him and win by decision Volkanovski has the momentum, but Aldo’s pedigree, experience and octagon IQ are going to carry him to one more UFC win. And oh by the way, Junior will be fighting in front of his countrymen.
Prediction: Jose Aldo by KO or decision.