Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight contenders Jessica Andrade and Karolina Kowalkiewicz collided last night (Sept. 8, 2018) at UFC 228 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Since losing to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first attempt to capture UFC gold, Andrade has looked like a destroyer. I’ve never described anyone barely who fights at 115 lbs. as hulking, but it’s a fair descriptor for the Brazilian powerhouse, who routinely throws opponents over her head like sacks of potatoes.
Kowalkiewicz hasn’t quite surged forward like Andrade since her own title loss to Jedrzejczyk, but she is still undefeated since then. More important, Kowalkiewicz does hold a fairly recent victory over the current champion, which helped carry big title implications into this bout.
Andrade opened this bout with immediate violence. The Brazilian swarmed her opponent with massive hooks, landing on the jaw and stumbling her opponent. Kowalkiewicz tried to back off and recover space — eventually succeeding — but first Andrade landed half a dozen hooks to the head and body.
After that awful start, Kowalkiewicz was able to gain some space and show her game plan. Trying to keep Andrade back with the jab and some kicks up the middle, Kowalkiewicz also managed to time Andrade lunging forward with some right hand counters. In addition, Kowalkiewicz latched onto the clinch a few times to stall Andrade’s pressure, trying to fight back with knees.
All that makes sense on paper and worked to some extent, but the power advantage was incredibly clear. Kowalkiewicz knew it too, as she was noticeably hesitant and worried about her opponent’s punches. Whenever a fighter reacts that way, you can almost feel that knockout coming, and “Bate Estaca” didn’t force us to wait long.
Andrade slammed home an overhand direct into Kowalkiewicz’s jaw, knocking her foe out with a single punch.
Andrade is a savage, and I’m not sure what more there is to say. Her physicality is on another level from the rest of the division — she punches and throws opponent like no woman I’ve ever seen compete. She can be sloppy while advancing, sure, but Andrade doesn’t give opponents many opportunities to capitalize before she’s in their faces and landing.
Leading up to the fight, Andrade said she had no intention of taking Kowalkiewicz down. To be honest, I laughed it off — Andrade has been taking down everyone, and Kowalkiewicz’s only chance at victory was likely on the feet. Throwing Kowalkiewicz on her head seemed like an easy tactical choice, but Andrade proved it completely unnecessary.
Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas is the next step, and I see Andrade as a horrible match up for the champion.
Unfortunately, this loss pretty much shuts down Kowalkiewicz’s goal of capturing the title. Her victory over Namajunas still keeps it somewhat alive as a fringe contender, but she’s now been clearly handled by three members of the top five. Kowalkiewicz only truly thrives in one area — the clinch — which is a difficult role to play when other fighters hold grappling advantages over the Polish kickboxer.
Kowalkiewicz is still a Top 10-ranked Strawweight, but this is a major setback.
Last night, Jessica Andrade scored one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC women’s history. Is the Brazilian next in line at the title?
For complete UFC 228: “Woodley vs. Till” results and play-by-play, click HERE!