UFC 211 Betting Breakdown: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade
Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the women’s strawweight title fight between Polish champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Brazilian Jessica Andrade.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (Record: 13-0, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
The UFC strawweight champion enters her fifth title defense with an unblemished professional record. She’s coming off one of her toughest tests to date where she suffered some adversity in the fourth round against Karolina Kowalkiewicz but recovered well and won a wide decision. If Jedrzejczyk wins at UFC 211, she’ll be one title defense away from tying Ronda Rousey for the most defenses by a female champion in the UFC.
The five-time IFMA world champion is without question the top striker in the strawweight division. Her Muay Thai accolades speak volumes to her ability on the feet. The first female European champion in UFC history, Jedrzejczyk lands strikes with a fantastic volume of over six significant strikes per minute in the Octagon. Perhaps even more impressive is that she only absorbs 2.25 significant strikes a minute for a difference of over four strikes per minute or nearly 100 strikes over a 25 minute contest compared to her opponents. Joanna does a great job of putting pressure on her opponents and firing off combinations. Once she sees an opening, she fires off five or six shots in combination. In a striking contest, she’s going to be very difficult to beat due to the strike differential she’s able to maintain in her fights. The champion has combined that striking arsenal with stout takedown defense. She’s defended 81 percent of takedowns attempted on her. Even in her five-round title defense against Claudia Gadelha, Jedrzejczyk defended 9-of-13 takedowns against perhaps the top wrestler in the division. Joanna forces her opponents to compete with her in a stand-up contest and that’s a battle she hasn’t lost yet in her MMA career.
Jessica Andrade (Record: 16-5, +165 Underdog, Power Ranking: A-)
The 25-year-old Brazilian made her professional debut at just 19 years of age in her native Brazil winning by second-round knockout. Andrade entered the UFC in 2013 fighting in the promotion’s bantamweight, amassing a 4-3 record. She made the cut to straw weight in 2016 and hasn’t looked back going 3-0 and dominating all three of those fights.
Andrade has really found her form since making the move down to 115 pounds. At just 5-foot-1, she physically just wasn’t able to compete with the top bantamweights in the world. Even at that height, she’s one of the shortest strawweights on the roster, but what has resonated more at this weight class is her punching power. In her divisional debut, she really forced former title challenger Jessica Penne on the back foot and bullied her in that fight before the referee stepped in and stopped the bout. Andrade fights like a tank, and it’s reminiscent of fellow Brazilian John Lineker. She loves to back fighters to the fence, and when her opponent freezes up, she unleashes heavy punch after heavy punch. Her striking volume is outstanding at 6.92 significant strikes per minute. She’s certainly willing to take some punches (4.29 strikes absorbed per minute) in order to land her own. What differentiates Andrade from the other heavy volume strikers in this division is her power wrestling game. Andrade uses her strength well and has been able to secure over two takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. She has a very good guillotine choke into takedown that she has won five of her fights with. She is a muscular fighter, so conditioning is a bit of a concern given her high pace and heavy volume. She has never fought in the championship rounds before.
Jedrzejczyk defends her UFC strawweight championship for the fifth time as she takes on Andrade. This is a really exciting fight and a clear contender in my eyes for "Fight of the Night" given the outstanding volume each fighter has historically put out. This is an interesting test for the champion because of the combination of striking power and ground game the challenger possesses. One could argue that Andrade has more power in her hands than any of the champion’s previous opponents. That certainly makes her dangerous in this bout. For Andrade to have success, she’ll need to get Joanna Champion backed up against the fence. Just like Lineker, Andrade has her best success in the striking exchanges when her opponent stops moving her feet and becomes static. At that point, Andrade laces in combinations to the body and to the head. The problem for Andrade is that Jedrzejczyk is constantly moving and is a forward striker. She’s not a fighter who is going to sit on her back foot. As Andrade won’t be able to dominate the striking exchanges, she’ll be forced to look for takedowns. She may be able to secure one early on, but Joanna Champion has excellent takedown defense (over 80 percent) and as the fight progresses Andrade will have more difficulty in being able to secure them. This fight could play out similarly to the one the champion had with Gadelha in July 2016. A fighter in which the challenger had success early, but Joanna Champion really pours it on as the fight progresses dominating the final 15 minutes of the bout to win a clear decision. I don’t expect Joanna to leave closely contested rounds on the table. Once she’s ahead in a round, she’ll make those rounds decisive. Andrade can certainly make things tricky early on, but this is the champion’s fight to lose. At just -175, Jedrzejczyk is worthy of a bet in this fight, and I’d recommend playing her all the way up to -200.
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