MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 69, a five-round women’s flyweight bout between Jessica Andrade and Erin Blanchfield. The event takes place on Saturday, February 18 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jessica Andrade (-190)
Andrade (24-9) is the No. 3 ranked women’s flyweight. The 31-year-old Brazilian joined the UFC in 2013 and she has a 15-7 record in the Octagon since then, with notable wins over Rose Namajunas, Katlyn Chookagian, and Amanda Lemos, to name a few. She has fought the best of the best at both women’s 115lbs and women’s 125lbs, and she has had a ton of success for the most part, including being the former UFC women’s strawweight champion. She is a fantastic fighter who is dangerous in every area of the game and she is quickly closing in on another title shot at 125lbs. She did take this fight on short notice, but if anyone is going to be in shape, it’s Andrade.
Erin Blanchfield (+160)
Blanchfield (10-1) is the No. 10 ranked women’s flyweight. The 23-year-old American has been in the UFC and she is 4-0 since then including a lopsided win over Molly McCann in her last fight, which was a true breakout performance. Blanchfield is an incredible prospect who has strong grappling skills that should lead to her having a great career in the UFC. But she still hasn’t proven that she’s an elite fighter, and the UFC is pushing her way up the rankings against an elite opponent. If Blanchfield can win this fight, it would be absolutely massive for her career and could lead her to get a title shot in short order. But that’s a big if against a very dangerous opponent in Andrade. It’s a huge opportunity for Blanchfield, but it’s also a very difficult fight for her to win.
Fight Breakdown: This is a good fight in the women’s flyweight division, but I like Andrade to get the win. I just feel like this is a major step up in competition for Blanchfield, and until I see her beat someone of Andrade’s level, I can’t pick her to win this kind of fight against an elite opponent. Don’t get me wrong, Blanchfield has looked amazing in the UFC, and I do think she has all the makings of a future UFC champion. But Andrade is still very much in her prime and she has looked absolutely phenomenal as of late with three straight wins in lopsided fashion. Andrade is so well-rounded and so dangerous in every area of the game that it’s hard to see Blanchfield having success against her. Given that this fight is scheduled for five rounds, I actually feel like a finish is very likely for Andrade in this fight. Blanchfield will have a great career in the UFC, but this is a bad matchup for her. Give me Andrade to get the win in this fight, and she likely will be able to get the finish in the five rounds.
Prediction: Jessica Andrade via TKO