Joanna Jedrzejczyk won the UFC women’s strawweight championship two years ago in Dallas, and on Saturday night at UFC 211, she made her fifth successful defense of her title. Despite the spirited effort and demonstrable guts shown by Jessica Andrade, Jedrzejczyk outclassed her on the feet and arguably put forth the best performance of her spectacular UFC career.
After an intense staredown, Jedrzejczyk began the fight with leg kicks to try and hamper Andrade’s movement. Andrade bullrushed the champion and clipped her with a hard right hand. The Brazilian ate a big knee as she pressed forward in the clinch and went for the takedown. It took two attempts for Joanna to bet put on her back. There was a noticeable welt on the right side of Joanna’s face. The champion got back to her feet and landed a knee to the body and elbows. She poured on the clinch strikes against the challenger. A sneaky high kick caught Andrade but she walked through it like it was nothing. Joanna popped Andrade with the jab and cut angles to avoid getting consistently tagged in the flurries. Another powerful takedown by Andrade was completed late in the first frame, but she couldn’t get any control and ate a hard elbow seconds before the horn sounded.
Jedrzejczyk kept slamming home leg kicks on Andrade, who threw a couple of jumping front kicks. Joanna doubled up on the jab to the head and body. Andrade was closing the distance but wasn’t effective with her punches. It was more of a chase than a walkdown. Jedrzejczyk was mixing up her strikes in typical Jedrzejczyk fashion, and then stunned Andrade with a pair of 1-2 combos. She was picking Andrade apart in the second round. Andrade lifted Joanna up but the champ kept her balance and softened the landing, and they were back to striking. A huge head kick by Jedrzejczyk caught Andrade flush, then a knee, but Joanna got tagged and taken down late. It was otherwise a dominant round by the champion.
Andrade’s left leg was swollen from all of the kicks thrown by the champ. Joanna went upstairs again with the kick and was continuing to show off her technical prowess. Andrade changed levels and had position to get a takedown, but Jedrzejczyk defended brilliantly. Jedrzejczyk attacked the body with a straight right and then a kick. Another stiff jab snapped Andrade’s head back. Andrade had a kick caught and countered with a straight right. The snap in Joanna’s kicks and punches was something to behold. Even when Andrade occasionally landed in the third, Joanna was taking those punches just fine.
As was the prevailing theme of this fight, Jedrzejczyk’s speed, precision, and timing left Andrade confused. Joanna threw lightning fast kicks to the head and body early in the fourth round. A crisp two-punch combination jacked the jaw of Andrade. The strikes continued piling up, and Andrade was not able to fire back with her trademark flurries. In the clinch, it was a no contest. More elbows and knees finding their target on the challenger, with Andrade unable to get the takedown against the fence. Jedrzejczyk used the whizzer to defend Andrade’s throw and they returned to striking at a distance. By the end of the round, Jedrzejczyk had landed over 70 leg kicks. Left hooks, head kicks, body shots, they were all there for Joanna. Andrade’s chin was more than admirable, though.
The two combatants embraced at the center of the Octagon in the final round. Andrade needed to go for broke, and that meant opening herself up to be hit even more. Joanna drilled Andrade with more glorious right hands, offsetting the left hooks Andrade that she was able to crack Jedrzejczyk with. A brutal right hand and an elbow hurt Andrade momentarily. Try as she might, Andrade could not come up with the KO needed after the prolonged beating. Jedrzejczyk turned in a masterful performance from start to finish, and Andrade won over the crowd with her display of toughness.
Official result: Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Jessica Andrade by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-45) to remain the UFC women’s strawweight champion