Former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade was not ready for what Valentina Shevchenko brought to the table at UFC 261. Expecting the flyweight champ to put on another striking-focused performance, ‘Bate-Estaca’ was bewildered when ‘Bullet’ spammed takedown after takedown right from the start of their title fight.
In an interview with Combate, Andrade revealed that neither herself or her team were quite prepared to counter that gameplan from Valentina, which led to the Brazilian being dominanted in the Octagon. Despite losing via TKO in a rather one-sided defeat, Jessica vows to learn from the loss and still wishes to challenge for the flyweight belt again in the future.
“I’m very happy I did this fight, for being able to fight Valentina,” Andrade said. “She surprised me with the takedowns. We thought she was going to strike, like she did in her other fights. She wanted to fight on the fence. I think that’s because of the comments I made leading up to the fight, when I said my jiu-jitsu was better. I said that if I took her down, she wouldn’t get up, but it was the opposite. She did something I wasn’t expecting. Neither was my team. We had trained for everything, but sometimes it’s just not your day. Now it’s time to evolve, improve. I’m sure I’ll fight for the title again.”
Having just lost to Valentina, Andrade now wishes to take some time off to think about her next move. The way the Brazilian analyzes her situation, there are plenty of options at both strawweight and flyweight. In fact, a potential rematch against Weili Zhang has crossed her mind after ‘Magnum’ lost her belt to Rose Namajunas at the same event.
“There’s still a lot of Jessica Andrade to be seen,” she said. “I think I’m a fighter who can make a difference at both flyweight or strawweight. They’re both weight classes in which I feel good. I believe that soon enough we may see Jessica at strawweight again. Who knows, there may be a rematch with Weii Zhang. We both lost, it might happen. Now it’s time to go back home, rest, put things in place, train harder and come back even better.”
Before the defeat to Valentina Shevchenko, Jessica Andrade (21-9) had defeated Katlyn Chookagian via TKO in her flyweight debut, back in October 2020. The victory snapped a two-fight losing skid for the 29-year-old, who had lost to both Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas at strawweight.