Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight strikers Jessica Andrade and Joanna Calderwood will brawl this Saturday (Sept. 10, 2016) at UFC 203 inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. In a match up of slick strikers, what adjustments must be made for either woman to claim victory? Let's break it down.
Andrade made a name for herself at Bantamweight, clobbering her opponents with power punches and aggression despite being undersized. However, she ran into a wall recently, dropping two of three fights via decision, and made the decision to relocate to Strawweight.
She made a strong 115-pound impression, battering a former title contender in short fashion.
Calderwood has also struggled a bit too find a home in the UFC. She failed to really impress in her first three UFC bouts, but Calderwood looked fantastic in her sole match up at Flyweight. Nonetheless, she’s heading back down to Strawweight.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: Jessica Penne (UFC 199), Raquel Pennington (UFC 171), Sarah Moras (UFC Fight Night 71)
Key Losses: Raquel Pennington (UFC 191), Marion Reneau (UFC Fight Night 61)
Keys to Victory: Even at Strawweight, Andrade is a short, muscle-bound striker who throws punches-in-bunches until her opponent collapses or she gasses. Thanks to her strength and stature, she's also proven to be a reasonably effective wrestler.
In this bout, Andrade's aggression should serve her well. Calderwood is a patient and technical fighter who does her best when allowed to find her range, and Andrade is built to disrupt her. Since Calderwood has proven tough to put away, it's important that Andrade stays smart and paces herself. She's yet to fight more than three minutes as a Strawweight, which means her gas tank is definitely in question.
Therefore, Andrade should look to punish her opponent's body early and often. By putting in the work early, Andrade helps ensure that Calderwood won't be able to rally back later in the bout.
Plus, body shots can definitely end the fight on their own.
Key Wins: Valerie Letourneau (UFC Fight Night 89), Cortney Casey (UFC Fight Night 72), Seohee Ham (TUF 20 Finale)
Key Losses: Maryna Moroz (UFC Fight Night 64)
Keys to Victory: A talented Muay Thai striker who throws a ton of volume, Calderwood is one of the most experienced kickboxers in her division. She's also developed the rest of her game rather nicely, as her defensive grappling has held up well so far.mCalderwood has a ton of range tools, and it's important that she throws them. Andrade may be something of a female equivalent to John Lineker in terms of style, but she lacks some of his more subtle boxing technique.
In short, she will be quite hittable as she works her way inside.
Because of her length and skill set, Calderwood is in a great spot to make her pay. Besides the obvious jab, Calderwood has some very nasty snap kicks up the middle that can be devastating opposite a crouched fighter like Andrade. Furthermore, those snap kicks — and regular round kicks — can most easily be landed to the mid-section. Hard body kicks like that will deplete a gas tank quicker than anything else, and Andrade is much less fearsome when she's struggling to breathe.
Bottom Line: The winner of this bout is in the title mix.
Andrade’s Strawweight debut was absolutely stellar and against a highly-regarded foe, but it was something of a stylistic layup for her. This is a more difficult challenge, but the 24 year old is definitely capable of earning the victory. Andrade could be a new contender in a division that desperately needs fresh faces. If she comes up short, Andrade is still young enough to learn and grow. That said, she’s already lost each time she’s faced a real step up in competition besides Penne, and she should be coming into her prime.
It’s very important that Calderwood find a way to win this bout. She’s coming off the biggest win and best performance of her career, and she could easily turn this into quite a bit of momentum by shutting down the powerful Brazilian. On the other hand, a loss is quite a setback for the Scottish athlete. She should be at her best right now, so she needs to be winning these high-profile match ups if a title shot is in her future.
At UFC 203, Jessica Andrade and Joanna Calderwood will open the main card. Which woman will have her hand raised?