The UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro this Saturday, May 11, with a pay-per-view event scheduled to please the masses of Brazilian fans in attendance. In the headline bout of the evening, Jessica Andrade will have the support of local fans as she attempts to take the UFC Strawweight Championship from Rose Namajunas.Anderson Silva, a true legend of mixed martial arts will be competing against Jared Cannonier in the co-main event. Jose Aldo also makes his return to Brazil to defend his #1 spot in the featherweight rankings from surging Australian, Alexander Volkanovski.
WagerBop is here to bring you detailed analysis ahead of the main event matchup so that you can make the right betting decision for UFC 237.
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Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade
This main event is an incredibly rare sight considering that Rose Namajunas, the champion, will be competing overseas for the first time in her career as she looks to defend her title from Jessica Andrade. Generally, champions stay at home and defend their titles when possible, especially if they’re American – so it’s refreshing to see Namajunas take up this challenge.
Rose Namajunas has long been one of the most ‘slept on’ fighters in mixed martial arts. With an unsuspecting look about her, “Thug Rose” has turned into one of the most adored champions today after she rose to the occasion and defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to claim the strawweight title with a fantastic first-round knockout. Almost no one saw it coming, but those who did were able to cash in on the +560 odds that were offered for Namajunas in the leadup to the bout. In the instant rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczkyk, Namajunas again entered as a betting underdog and again defeated the former champion.
As she enters UFC 237, she’s considered the underdog against Andrade and that has proven to be familiar territory for “Thug Rose” already.
Jessica Andrade is like a miniature weapon of mass destruction. She’s small and stocky but uses her strength and frame to bully her opponents inside the cage. She’s currently enjoying the best of a three-fight winning streak that has seen her earn wins against three of the very best fighters in the UFC’s strawweight division today. Andrade topped Claudia Gadelha and Tecia Torres via unanimous decision before then defeating Karolina Kowalkiewicz with a remarkable first-round knockout.
Let’s move on to the odds for this main event.
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade Odds
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade breakdown
This matchup is an interesting one to analyze because, really, Rose Namajunas is a vastly more skilled fighter and has much better technique, but Jessica Andrade’s style of fighting is what makes her such a difficult opponent.
For instance, Namajunas looks comfortable fighting at range, where she’ll often dance in and out of punching range before then stepping forward and crashing a heavy right hand into her opponent’s head. This works very well and she has caught the majority of her opposition with this strike, especially when it is disguised by her series of left hooks, as well. However, stepping in and throwing this punch against Andrade is a recipe for disaster.
Rather than merely slipping to either side and returning a heavy punch or kick in return, Andrade’s best response is to actually step forward and into her opponent, helping to close the distance even further and negating the other fighter’s ability to remove themselves from danger. At this extremely close range, Andrade is particularly dangerous. Whereas most of Namajunas’ strikes are long and rangy, Andrade throws shorter punches such as hooks that are indeed more powerful. We’re expecting to see that for every time Namajunas comes in and lands her signature right hand, Andrade will be waiting to return fire with two or three strikes of her own.
But that’s not all. Andrade moves forward consistently and pressures her opponent around the cage. Unfortunately, Andrade has never excelled at ‘cutting’ the cage and instead opts to just follow the other fighter around until they run out of space. Namajunas has the ability to evade this type of forward pressure by angling out and resetting back in the middle. However, it’s unbelievably challenging to maintain this discipline throughout the entirety of a fight and Andrade’s constant work to the head and body may slow down Namajunas as the fight progresses.
So while Namajunas may employ a perfect gameplan for the first round or two, Andrade is going to remain there in Namajunas’ face and keep marching forward. Eventually, Andrade’s going to land some bombs and put Namajunas down. If she can’t do that, her constant work will help her in the eyes of the judges (in Brazil, mind you), and we’re confident that Andrade can win either by stoppage or decision.
Jessica Andrade to win by KO/TKO – Round 4
Bet on Jessica Andrade to win: -125 at 5Dimes