Former UFC strawweight best, Jéssica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade made her presence at a new flyweight home known on Saturday night at UFC Fight Island 6 – joining division leader, Valentina Shevchenko as the only other opposition to finish number-one contender, Katlyn Chookagian with strikes.
The aggressive former bantamweight contender seems to have found her sweet spot in the promotion after an extended period at 115-pounds where she struck promotional gold. In a hugely-aggressive display which has become a staple of her career, Andrade cannoned forward on occasion to pressure Chookagian at the fence.
In a shrewd tactical approach which she shared with UFC colour-commentator, Daniel Cormier afterwards – Andrade explained how her team had instructed her to target the body of Quakertown native, Chookagian – believing the one-time title challenger had suffered a draining weight-cut.
Finding a late first-round finish, Andrade dug deep with a massive right hook to the body, drawing a notable reaction from Chookagian who turned her back on the Brazilian before catching a flying knee to the midsection, and an eventual barrage at the fence which forced the issue.
Likely to take the number-one rank in the flyweight pile off the back of last weekend’s win, Andrade expressed her confidence of finding success against gold holder, Shevchenko – who is currently pre-occupied with Andrade’s compatriot, former Invicta FC flyweight best, Jennifer Maia in a UFC 255 co-main event in November.
“I think I can make a difference in this division,” Andrade told MMA Junkie. “I think I can put up a fight against Valentina (Shevchenko). It’s something that should have happened already in other organizations, so I think I’m going to make a difference and put on shows in this division.“
Testing the waters at bantamweight, strawweight, and now flyweight, Andrade also maintained she would be ready to even step-in on short-notice as high as the 145-pound featherweight limit if the UFC required so.
“For sure,” Andrade said. “I’m going to stay ready. If that happens I’ll be there if needed. In any other division – 135(-pounds), 145(-pounds) – I’ll be ready. I haven’t felt this happy and haven’t had this vigour to fight. I just feel very good tonight.“
For Kyrgyzstan standout, Shevchenko – the finisher is approaching her fourth consecutive title defence, having scored the vacant title in a clash opposite common-foe, former strawweight queen, Joanna Jȩdrzejczyk, In three subsequent title defences against Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, and the above-noted, Chookagian – Shevchenko notched rather one-sided victories.