On Saturday, May 13th in Dallas, Texas, strawweight queen Joanna Jędrzejczyk will look to successfully defend her title against Brazilian powerhouse Jessica Andrade.Jędrzejczyk has cemented herself as one of the pound-for-pound top female fighters in the world. Since winning the strawweight championship from Carla Esparza in early-2015, JJ has taken on each and every contender, successfully defending her belt four times. On Saturday, she will look to make her fifth title defense and improve her record to 14-0 by dispatching Andrade.
Jessica Andrade, also known as “Bate Estaca” (which translates to “Piledriver”), has looked nothing short of dominant since dropping to strawweight from bantamweight. With convincing wins over Jessica Penne, Joanne Calderwood, and former Invicta champ Angela Hill, Andrade could very well be Jędrzejczyk’s stiffest test to date.
What does the champ have to do to defend her title? What should the challenger do to dethrone the champ? Check out our Keys to Victory below.
- Head movement: It is no secret that Andrade possesses some major power in her hands and will likely look to find the champ’s chin early. It is imperative that Joanna keeps her head constantly moving by bobbing and weaving off the center line. She does not want to give a stagnant target to someone with the power of Andrade.
- Side steps, angles, and using her reach: Joanna needs to make sure that she does not get backed up against the cage, where Andrade often looks to unleash flurries of hooks and uppercuts. Instead of moving backward, Joanna will look to move side-to-side, where she can fire off her punches from different angles. The champ will also possess a three-inch reach advantage– Joanna should look to fire crisp, technical punches right down the middle, keeping Andrade at a distance.
- Takedown defense and punishing the attempts: Many know Andrade for simply for her brute strength and wild striking, but the Brazilian also possesses a strong jiu-jitsu background and an explosive wrestling game. In addition to keeping Andrade at a distance, Joanna Champion should be cautious with her high kicks to avoid being taken down. She should use repeated low kicks in attempt of slowing Andrade down. If and when Andrade attempts to take Joanna down, Joanna should be ready to punish her opponent and slice her up with elbows and knees to discourage future attempts and keep the fight standing– where she likes it.
- Pressure and patience: Jessica will need to do her best to back the champ up by coming forward early. There is no doubt that Joanna and her team at American Top Team will be wise to Jessica’s aggressive strategy early on– Andrade will need to remain patient in her attack so that she doesn’t fade in the later rounds.
- Defense: Jessica likes to throw her combinations wildly, hooking punches and mixing in shots to the head and the body. In previous fights, Andrade has relied on her resilience and a solid chin, without worrying too much about technical defense. In this fight, the first five-round fight of her career, she should keep her hands high and chin tucked, trying to absorb as little punishment as possible so that she can maintain the incredible pace she puts forward.
- Close the distance, set up the takedown: Jessica will be at a height and reach disadvantage against the Polish champion. When Jędrzejczyk is able to keep her distance and measure her shots, she has been known to put on striking clinics. Andrade will look to take away the height and reach advantage by closing the gap between them and using her strength to work in the clinch. While working the clinch, Andrade can look to secure positions and land her explosive takedowns without having to worry about shooting in from the outside.
#AndStill or #AndNew?? What are each fighter’s Keys to Victory on Saturday?