Brazil Prevailed at the End at UFC Fight Night

David Ibarra, Reporter

At UFC Fight Night: Rio De Janeiro, in the end, Brazil prevailed. What began as a brutal start for the host country’s fighters ended with Brazil’s own Jessica Andrade capturing the strawweight title in devastating fashion. Andrade defeated Rose Namajunas by KO in the 2nd round on Saturday to become the first Brazilian fighter to claim women’s strawweight gold.

It was a spectacular turn of events that led to the finish in the main event Saturday night. Namajunas had been dominating the fight by a large margin until the finishing sequence. The former strawweight queen was able to keep Andrade at a distance with her jab through most of the fight. Namajunas had appeared to look better than ever with great striking technique and good grappling. There was a wild scramble in the first round that displayed Namajunas’ incredible jiu-jitsu technique by almost getting Andrade in an arm bar while being suspended in the air.

However, the power of Andrade, after getting heavily hit in the first round, prevailed in the middle of the second round. While Andrade was going for a takedown, Namajunas threatened with a kimura lock that would force Andrade to lift Namajunas and slam her on her neck. Namajunas went out immediately and referee Marc Goddard stepped in to call the fight off. It was a scary scene to witness, as it appeared that Namajunas landed directly on her neck.

The former champ was able to walk out of the octagon on her own two feet, after congratulating Andrade and thanking the fans in Brazil.

Andrade becomes the third strawweight champion and first Brazilian champion in the division’s history. She also carries the most wins in the UFC among women with 11. Her win streak is increased to four straight.

It’s been quite the feat for Andrade, who is 7-1 in her strawweight tenure after dropping from bantamweight. Her next step carries its options in a fast-moving 115-pound division. Top ranked fighters Tatiana Suarez and Nina Ansaroff are scheduled to meet in June at UFC 238. The winner of that fight has a good argument to be next in line. Also waiting in the shadows is former strawweight title holder Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who has the only victory over Andrade at 115 pounds.

The road ahead is not so clear for Namajunas. In her post-fight interviews, Namajunas was not ruling out a possible retirement.

When asked if she would like an immediate rematch, she replied, “I just want to do something else with my life right now.”

As always, it’s hard to see what’s next for a fighter immediately after they compete in an octagon. Nevertheless, we hope for it to be whatever may be best for the former champion.

Before the chaos of the main event, all Brazilian fighters on the main card suffered defeat.

In the co-main event, Jared Cannonier made quick work of the legendary Anderson Silva. A few leg kicks sent Silva down in pain and it was ruled a TKO stoppage at 4:48 in the first round.

It was later revealed that Silva had gone into fight night with a bad knee. However, the leg kicks by Cannonier was a great game plan and worked for him quite quickly.

Alexander Volkanovski defeated featherweight legend Jose Aldo by decision. It was a smart strategy by Volkanovski to put pressure on Aldo early and never let him get his feet settled. He mixed up leg kicks with body strikes and hooks throughout the full 15 minutes. It seemed as if Aldo was waiting for the perfect opportunity to land that one deadly punch. That moment never came for the 32-year old legend. Volkanovski puts himself in place to become the top contender for featherweight king Max Holloway.

The fight of the night bonus went to Namajunas vs Andrade and performance of the night bonuses went to Warlley Alves, who defeated Sergio Moraes by third-round KO, and Andrade, who sent her countrymen home happy with a brutal KO victory.

Whats next? UFC is headed back to the states for UFC Fight Night Rochester, where Kevin Lee looks to go back to his winning ways against Rafael Dos Anjos. Look out for the preview this week.

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