UFC 237: Namajunas vs. Andrade is the exciting women's match up headlining UFC 237 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This night promises to showcase an array of strong MMA contenders facing Brazilian legends in and amongst their home crowd, making it one fight night that you definitely won’t want to miss.
Rose Namajunas v Jessica Andrade
Women Strawweight Main Event
This UFC main event is significant as it’s been a year since fierce female warriors have headlined, and if there was a match up fit for a female comeback, this is it - with Lithuanian/American Rose “Thug” Namajunas coming face to face with Brazilian Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade on her home turf.
This may be an intimidating battlefield for the visitor, but Namajunas is no stranger to adversity. She was recently launched into the spotlight as a female UFC hero after her knockout win against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, as it followed a UFC 217 pre-fight conference call in which her opponent brazenly claimed "You are mentally unstable... broken already… I will break you in the fight."
The current Women’s Strawweight champion may be up against a challenge of the same magnitude with Andrade, a prolific powerhouse and certified veteran of women’s MMA who will be looking to make her mark against the well-known Namajunas. She has about twice the experience of her opponent in both wins and losses, a difference made even more staggering when you consider Andrade is only one year older at twenty-seven.
Namajunas would appear to hold the physical advantage, standing four inches taller with a three inch reach advantage. However, Andrade is of the bigger natural build, having moved down a weight class since 2015.
Namajunas only holds one pro knockout victory against Jedrzejczyk, though this is certainly a testament to how far she’s come. Her strikes have successfully gained versatility, mainly utilizing fierce hybrid overhand punches that land unexpectedly, and combining this with knees as well as the ground and pound.
She holds an impressive majority of five submission finishes out of eight victories and clearly strategizes to her strengths; proving a countless number of times how she can technically achieve submissions through various pathways. Interestingly, her takedowns don’t follow the traditional judo or wrestling style - with Namajunas often climbing her opponent’s back to execute her rear-naked choke. This unconventional style makes sense as her martial background has always been rooted in modern MMA.
Andrade is confidently entering this contest off the back of a three fight winning streak. She has an incredibly balanced game and is arguably one of the most experienced and balanced female Mixed Martial Artists out there, boasting a record of six knockout wins, seven by submission and six by decision with only six losses to date.
Her striking style is absolutely relentless, featuring punches and knees that continuously hit with force and accuracy. Her style is hybrid, some may even call it brawling, but nonetheless it is highly effective - with her most recent victory against Karolina Kowalkiewicz highlighting her clean, knockout power.
It’s true that Namajunas has faced formidable strikers in the past, and through winning her title, has beat them all at their own game. However, the combined power and well-rounded skill of Andrade surpasses this, and it’s unlikely to be a force that Namajunas has faced before. Her main chance to win the fight would be to get Andrade to the ground, but we believe that in this fight, Andrade is likely to overpower her opponent and come away victorious.
Andrade to win at 1.81
Jared Cannonier v Anderson Silva
Middleweight Co-Main Event
The co-main event appears to be a male reflection of the female fight. Another rising American fighter, Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier, faces the Brazilian MMA veteran and legend Anderson “The Spider” Silva on his home battle ground. What makes this event even more special is that this is the first time in seven years Silva has fought in his home country.
We all know that the majority of Silva’s losses have occurred since 2013, beginning with that fateful knockout from Chris Weidman and the ghastly snapping of Silva’s shin in the rematch. But he began to regain his footing with a decision win against Derek Brunson, and despite his most recent defeat against the Israel Adesanya, the fight undoubtedly showcased his skills and stamina, proving that he was very much still there.
His opponent is far less experienced, which is understandable given that Cannonier is a decade younger. Whilst also being also three inches shorter, he does have a 0.5 inch greater reach - but doesn’t truly hold a vast physical advantage past his youth.
Despite this, Cannonier is currently ranked five places above Silva and certainly seems ready to take his shot at the legend. Like his opponent, he is a master of the knockout with seven knockout wins, two by submission and two by decision. All of his four losses occurred in the latter half of his career, notably since 2015 when he joined the UFC. It is clear therefore that this fight is of significance for Cannonier, who will be hoping to prove that the UFC is where he belongs.
He certainly made a point with his last win against David Branch via knockout, coming back from a two fight losing streak. Branch was both taller and had a greater reach, but Cannonier proved that he wasn’t to be underestimated, demonstrating his strength, persistence and resilience.
He came back from several vicious and seemingly effortless double leg take-downs from Branch against the cage, escaping the wrestler’s grasp and continuing to strike, even landing a risky spinning hook kick. He finished the fight with a knockout reminiscent of Namajunas; a well-timed right cross that launched Branch to the ground, followed by a ground and pound. His strikes are nuanced and it’s clear that he’s progressed in his career. And now he faces the king of MMA.
In Silva’s last fight against Adesanya, no one expected the fight to go the distance and yet Silva battled the full five rounds. His reactions were still fairly sharp and his techniques, including an attempted flying knee and a catching of Adesanya’s kick to knock him down with punches, were clear reminders of the old Silva. Though his timing and fitness may not have matched his opponent, he certainly proved he could still hold his own. His experience is evident and he can enter this fight with his head held high.
Silva’s twenty-three knockout wins out of a total thirty-four victories far outnumber the total number of fights in Cannonier’s career, and no one can deny that Silva’s unique traits - such as his incredible creativity, technical knowledge, great fluidity of movement and timing, fast reactions, and of course, unconventionality - have moulded him into the legend that he is.
We believe that this could be the fight where, despite the age gap, Silva’s technicality will override Cannonier’s youthful strength and resilience for a decision win. Silva proved he wasn’t down for the count against Adesanya, and the fact he is battling it out with the full support of a home crowd will surely help him on his way to victory.
Silva to win at 1.62
Alexander Volkanovski v Jose Aldo
It appears to be a running theme to have a Brazilian hero face an outsider during this event, with Alexander Volkanovski coming all the way from Australia to face his adversary Jose Aldo in this card’s featherweight fight. Aldo is only two years Volkanovski’s senior at thirty-two, but has considerably greater experience with twenty-eight victories to date. The fighters are of similar height, but Volkanovski holds the 1.5 inch reach advantage.
Aldo is a renowned knockout specialist with a majority of seventeen knock-out wins. He is currently on a two knockout winning streak and firmly making his comeback after a stream of recent decision wins and knockout losses. He is a fierce and persistent striker who lands his punches, knees and leg kicks with great accuracy and force, and will no doubt be determined to continue as the redeemed knockout king.
Though less experienced by Aldo’s standards, Volkanovski still has an extensive and impressive record with only one loss early on in his career. He is also a knockout specialist with a majority of eleven victories by knockout, three by submission and five by decision. He’s a heavy hitter, mainly using his punches to force his opponents to the ground, and the significance of facing a legend like Aldo will not be lost on Volkanovski.
Many will have dubbed this match the legend versus the “upstart”. Volkanovski turned his back on professional rugby for this and pursued MMA full throttle with a near perfect UFC record. Though he was a significant contender at the start of his career, we believe that Aldo’s experience and fighting pedigree make him the likely victor in this fight.
Aldo to win at 1.70
Francisco Trinaldo v Carlos Diego Ferreira
Here we actually have two native Brazilians entering the Octagon. Physically, the two fighters are the same height, however Carlos Diego Ferreira holds a substantial four inch reach advantage. At thirty-four, he is also six years younger than his opponent Francisco Trinaldo, but this gives Trinaldo an upper-hand when it comes to experience - holding twenty-three victories to Diego Ferreira’s fifteen.
Trinaldo has had a fairly balanced career with eight knockout wins, five by submission and ten by decision, but most of his knockout victories occurred earlier on in his career. Though fewer of his victories have been by submission, he has a sound technical knowledge in this area with a variety of finishes including toe hold, anaconda choke and arm-triangle choke.
Ferreira, on the other hand, is far more of a submission specialist with six submission wins, three by knockout and six by decision - with his three most recent wins being by knockout, demonstrating how he has developed and progressed as a fighter to be better-rounded.
Both fighters are clearly formidable: Trinaldo has a wealth of experience and varied victories far outweighing his opponent, whilst Ferreira has shown far greater consistency in finishes, as well as holding the advantage of age and physicality. We believe that Ferreira is therefore likely to win this contest.
Diego Ferreira to win at 1.62