Two talented female fighters looking to climb up the rankings will square off this Saturday night (July 27, 2013) as Liz Carmouche welcomes Jessica Andrade to the Octagon in the opening bout of the UFC on FOX 8 main card in Seattle, Washington.
Carmouche is on the heels of a failed title fight, although she gave champion Ronda Rousey all she could handle for nearly five minutes. She'll be looking to get back on track with the type of performance that will get people talking about a potential title rematch down the road.
Andrade, just 21 years old, has already fought more than Carmouche and has been competing at a ridiculous pace as of late. Her stretch of five wins in five months opened some eyes and helped her put her foot in the door for a UFC berth.
Record: 8-3 overall, 0-1 in the UFC
How she got here: Carmouche spent several years in the marines, doing three tours in Iraq and she wanted to do something more once she got out. The "GirlRilla" began training in mixed martial arts and quickly took a liking to it, making her pro debut in 2010.
Just five months later, she was already fighting in Strikeforce and by November of the same year, she crushed former women's 145 pound title challenger Jan Finney to move to 6-0 overall. When Miesha Tate went down with an injury, Carmouche stepped up on short notice to challenge Marloes Coenen for the women's bantamweight title.
In the title fight, Carmouche nearly shocked the world, taking Coenen down and pounding away, landing the most strikes in a women's fight in Strikeforce history, but was submitted in the fourth round in what many called the female version of Sonnen-Silva 1.
The former marine lost her next bout against former champion Sarah Kaufman, getting outstruck on the feet by the more technical boxer. She bounced back by winning two straight fights in the all-women's Invicta Fighting Championship promotion, stopping both opponents with her overwhelming strength and power on the ground.
When Ronda Rousey needed an opponent for her UFC debut, Carmouche gleefully accepted the challenge and she pushed the champ to her limits in the first women's fight in UFC history with a nasty-looking neck crank but eventually succumbed to Rousey's patented armbar.
Now, the Team Hurricane Awesome fighter is looking to bounce back and Jessica Andrade is in her sights.
How she gets it done: Carmouche is one of the most physically powerful women at 135 pounds. She has the ability to throw around any other bantamweight and maneuver them inside the Octagon wherever she pleases. If Andrade threatens her on the feet, look for Carmouche to pin her against the fence or even try to ragdoll her to the ground with some power-based takedowns.
If and when Carmouche can drag Andrade to the canvas, she likely won't be looking for a submission as Andrade is well-versed in those arts. Instead, she'll be looking to drop some punishment with her fists. Carmouche isn't the most technically gifted striker, but everything gets easier when you can pop a stationary target on the floor with some ground strikes.
The "Girl-Rilla" isn't afraid to get hit, so don't be surprised if she tests her stand-up for a bit here either. Despite both women being competent ground fighters, there's some serious potential this fight could turn into a slugfest on the feet especially if the crowd starts getting into the bout.
Record: 9-2 overall, 0-0 in the UFC
Key Wins: Milana Dudieva (ProFC 47), Duda Yankovich (Bitetti Combat 12)
Key Losses: Jennifer Maia (Samurai FC 9)
How she got here: Andrade made her professional debut just two weeks before her 20th birthday. She began her career by focusing on her striking and ground and pound, ending all four of her first fights via TKO (although she was on the receiving end of one).
What really put the youngster on the map was a stretch last year from August 2012 to January 2013 where she fought a whopping six times in five months, winning five of the bouts including an impressive guillotine choke of former boxing champion Duda Yankovich.
In her most recent performance, she traveled all the way to Russia to end Milana Dudieva's eight fight winning streak this past April, finishing the fight with her trademark guard-pulling guillotine.
When Liz Carmouche's original opponent Miesha Tate got selected to fill in on The Ultimate Fighter, UFC signed Andrade to fill in as her replacement and she'll be making her UFC debut this Saturday night.
How she gets it done: Andrade is still very raw on the feet, but Carmouche isn't a world beater standing either. In her last bout, she stood toe-to-toe with Dudieva trading bombs until she dropped the Russian. Don't be surprised if she does the same thing to start out this fight.
If and when the bout breaks down into more technical exchanges, Andrade will likely try to take it to the canvas with her wide array of unorthodox takedowns. She's capable of pulling out trips, throws and can even surprise with a guard-pulling somersault to try and secure a ground advantage.
Andrade's ground and pound is above average, but it's unlikely she will be able to fool around too much with Carmouche from top position. Instead, look for her to try and grab Carmouche's neck and drop down for a guillotine choke, which has become one of her favorite techniques. Regardless of whether or not she can pull that off, don't expect her to stop attacking. Andrade is just as likely to throw up an armbar or triangle choke if she can't force a tap with her first attack.
Eventually, she'll be hoping for one of her attempts to lock up and force a stop to the bout.
Who will come out on top at UFC on Fox 8? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!