When Jessica Andrade fought Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title at UFC 261, she thought the champ would want to keep it striking.
In the lead-up to the fight, all the talk was about how Andrade was the better wrestler and she would try and make it a grappling fight. Yet, the champ made it clear she was better and the Brazilian admits it surprised her that she got taken down.
“I was somewhat surprised when I faced Valentina,” Andrade told MMA Junkie. “We put together a strategy for her, but she brought a different game. After she took me down, I found myself in the place I planned to have her. That’s my game – it’s what I do in my fights. It confused me that she took me down, in my style, since she’s such a good striker. But each fight is unique.
“Someone has to win, and someone has to lose. It wasn’t my day,” Andrade continued. “With a rematch, I’m very confident I’ll be ready for everything – takedowns and striking. I feel if she had chosen to use her boxing or muay Thai, I would have done a lot better.”
Jessica Andrade is set to return to the Octagon on the main card of UFC 266 on Saturday against Cynthia Calvillo. A win could very well put her back in contention to face Shevchenko should the champ beat Lauren Murphy on Saturday.
Yet, Andrade is focused on Calvillo and continuing to put together good performances.
“I’m very happy with my spot,” Andrade said. “Even having lost recently, I lost to champions. It wasn’t to just anyone. I remain well ranked. Whenever I’ve switched weight classes, I found myself in a good spot. At strawweight, I was No. 2, climbed to one, and eventually became the champion. I recently entered flyweight. I won my first bout, and lost the next one to Valentina Shevchenko, who is the current champion. And I remain ranked at No. 1.
“As such, I’m very happy with my performances and my work. Each loss gives further motivation to train harder and return better. At least, that’s how it is with me. Now I’m looking forward to another win. And, without a doubt, if I beat one or two opponents after that, I’ll get another shot at the belt. I’m satisfied with the work I’ve been putting in with my team.”