Jessica Andrade (-300)
MMA Record: 17-6
UFC Record: 8-4 (4-1 at strawweight)
Notable Wins: Claudia Gadelha, Raquel Pennington, Joanne Calderwood
Notable Losses: Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Raquel Pennington, Liz Carmouche
Last Fight: Unanimous decision win over Claudia Gadelha
Fighter Profile: Andrade is one of the most aggressive strawweights in the UFC. She is a buzzsaw on the feet and is able to throw constant volume for the entire fight. She also has some power in her punches. Not only that, but she has a strong takedown game and when she’s on the ground she has a slick submission game as well. Her chin is terrific and she is a very durable fighter overall although her defense in general leaves a lot to be desired. Physically she is one of the strongest 115ers on the roster, and she has tremendous cardio to go along with it. Since moving to strawweight Andrade has looked like a legitimate title contender. Though she lost to Jedrzejczyk in her bid for the belt, she bounced back nicely in her last fight with a huge win over Gadelha. The dominant performance against Gadelha was a real eye-opener and it’s why she’s pegged as such a big favorite to win this fight.
Tecia Torres (+240)
MMA Record: 10-1
UFC Record: 6-1
Notable Wins: Rose Namajunas, Michelle Waterson, Felice Herrig
Notable Losses: Rose Namajunas
Last Fight: Unanimous decision win over Michelle Waterson
Fighter Profile: Torres is an incredibly well-rounded strawweight. She has a very technical striking attack on the feet and she has a strong wrestling game as well. She is one of the most physically strong fighters in the division as well as being incredibly durable. She also has the cardio to go the full fight. Though she has been criticized in the past for her string of decisions, she has shown some finishing ability in recent fights and been a bit more aggressive. In her last outing, she dominated Waterson, a former champion in Invicta FC. Torres continues to get better and better training at American Top Team and absolutely has championship potential in the sport. But despite her success in the UFC, she’s a significant underdog in this fight against Andrade.
Fight Breakdown: This is a great matchup on paper between two well-rounded strawweights. It’s likely that the winner of this bout will be given a title shot against the the winner of the rematch between Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk at UFC 223. Both Andrade and Torres are willing to stand and trade and both women are very durable. They’re both very strong and that should cancel out the wrestling aspect of this fight, and it’s likely going to stay on the feet. Though Andrade is the more aggressive fighter, Torres has better defense. If Torres can avoid Andrade’s big shots, she can use a stick-and-move gameplan here to outpoint her opponent. I understand why Andrade is the favorite after beating Gadelha, but this is a competitive matchup based on the style matchup, and it looks like a value opportunity to take a shot on the underdog in what should be a close fight.
Prediction: Tecia Torres by decision