The main event of UFC 237 is a Strawweight title fight when champion Rose Namajunas (8-3 MMA; 6-2 UFC) defends against Jessica Andrade (19-6 MMA; 10-4 UFC). The UFC rankings have Andrade as the division’s #1 contender, with the champ ranked #14 pound-for-pound. UFC 237: Namajunas vs. Andrade airs live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this Saturday night, May 11. The main card airs on PPV through ESPN+ with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
This title match-up is, for whatever reason, not getting a tremendous amount of love from fans. Which is a shame, as it’s a good fight. You’ve got the division’s #1 contender going up against the exciting champ making her 2nd defense of the belt. It’s also a very close fight - the latest odds have the challenger as the slight favorite at -140 to +110 for Thug Rose.
How do these two stack up?
Namajunas: 26 years old | 5’5” | 65” reach
Andrade: 27 years old | 5’2” | 62” reach
What have these two done recently?
Namajunas: W - Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UD) | W - Joanna Jedrzejczyk (TKO) | W - Michelle Waterson (Sub)
Andrade: W - Karolina Kowalkiewicz (KO) | W - Tecia Torres (UD) | W - Claudia Gadelha (UD)
How did these two get here?
Champ Rose Namajunas, for whatever reason, still doesn’t seem to get a tremendous amount of respect. Perhaps it’s coming through TUF (and not winning). Perhaps it’s her young age and relative inexperience. Perhaps, frankly, it’s the Conor fans disrespecting her for her entirely justified response to the bus incident. Whatever the reason, she’s the 2nd lowest ranked champ in the P4P rankings, and she’s the underdog here. But Rose comes in on a 6-1 run, with the lone loss being a very close split decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. She’s also coming off back to back wins over Joanna (ex)champion, who people thought was virtually unbeatable when they met, and entered that Rose fight having just defeated Andrade. She’s a good striker, a talented submission artist, and has heart for days.
Jessica Andrade hails from Brazil and will have the crowd solidly behind her here. She was one of the earliest members of the UFC women’s roster, joining the company in 2013 as a Bantamweight before dropping down. She has had one shot at the belt already, losing to Joanna in 2017 in what remains her only UFC loss at Strawweight. Since then, she’s 3-0 against very good competition. She’s an exciting, physical fighter with great cardio who has won performance bonuses in 4 of her last 6 fights. She will almost certainly look to win this fight by physically imposing her will on the smaller framed Namajunas.
Why should you care?
It’s an interesting stylistic match-up featuring one of the sport’s hardest working fighters in Rose defending against a very tough challenger. And the crowd will be red hot.