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UFC Vegas 52 preview: ‘Lemos vs Andrade’ predictions

UFC 261: Usman v Masvidal 2 Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from its upcoming UFC Vegas 52 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., April 23, 2022) from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a five-round strawweight showdown between Amanda Lemos and Jessica Andrade, a 115-pound headliner with serious title implications for late 2022 and beyond.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 55 On ESPN+

Bantamweight Battle! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., May 21, 2022, with a must-watch women’s Bantamweight contenders’ bout between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Holly Holm, taking on No. 5-seeded Ketlen Vieira. In UFC Vegas 55’s co-main event, No. 14-ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio will lock horns with Michel Pereira in an absolute Welterweight firecracker.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the lightweight brouhaha between veteran bruiser Clay Guida and Peruvian grappler Claudio Puelles, check out Patrick Stumberg’s UFC Vegas 52 preliminary card breakdowns here and here. In addition, in-house pro fighter and longtime MMA writer Andrew Richardson did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Vegas 52 main card right here.

For the latest “Lemos vs. Andrade” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s break it down.

115 lbs.: Amanda Lemos vs. Jessica Andrade

Amanda ‘Amandinha’ Lemos

Record: 11-1-1 | Age: 34 | Betting line: +160
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’4“ | Reach: 65” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 5.35 | Striking accuracy: 58%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.67 | Striking Defense: 48%
Takedown Average: 1.31 (57% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 87%
Current Ranking: No. 10 | Last fight: Split decision victory over Angela Hill

Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade

Record: 22-9 | Age: 30 | Betting line: -190
Wins: 9 KO/TKO, 7 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 4 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 3 DEC
Height: 5’1“ | Reach: 62” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 6.24 | Striking accuracy: 50%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.21 | Striking Defense: 53%
Takedown Average: 2.90 (55% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 66%
Current Ranking: No. 1 (flyweight) | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Cynthia Calvillo

Streaking strawweight sensation Amanda Lemos is being positioned as the next big thing in a weight class that is about to get blown wide open over the next few weeks. Not only will Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza compete for “Thug’s” 115-pound title, former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili will run it back to see which fighter stays afloat in the crowded division title chase. In addition, Marina Rodriguez and Mackenzie Dern are just around the corner, so Lemos will need to make good use of her first-ever main event this weekend in “Sin City.” Opposing her is former champion Jessica Andrade, who continues to have an identity crisis when it comes to settling on a division. In addition to strawweight, “Bate Estaca” has bounced around between bantamweight and flyweight but now looks to slug her way back to a championship title fight at 115 pounds. Andrade is not the most technical fighter but what she lacks in prowess she makes up for in savagery, the primary reason she holds division records for most knockouts (3), most strikes landed per minute (6.88), and total Performance Bonuses (7). Unless you’re good at playing matador like Jedrzejczyk, it’s very difficult to get through an Andrade fight without taking your lumps.

Lemos holds a few strawweight records of her own, including most knockdowns (7), highest knockdown average per 15 minutes (1.98), and shortest average fight time (7:35 minutes). I think it’s safe to say that “Amandinha” is not interested in a chess match, which explains her quick fire victories against the likes of Livinha Souza and Montserrat Ruiz. That strategy may betray her against Andrade, who’s already proven capable in five-round fights. We don’t yet know how Lemos will hold up after the third frame and let’s face it, she didn’t look great down the stretch in a narrow split decision victory over Angela Hill her last time out. We must also take into consideration the pace at which Andrade fights. I don’t expect Lemos to have the luxury of stepping on and off the gas at her pace — it’s going to be a high-octane thriller from start to finish. How “Amandinha” budgets her conditioning could be the deciding factor in this fight. On paper, it’s hard to pick against Andrade because of her championship experience. “Bate Estaca” has already faced two current and two former champions and there is simply no substitution for that level of experience. Lemos has yet to face anyone in the division Top 10. The aforementioned Hill is currently ranked No. 12 but I don’t think that’s the fight Lemos fans want to use to argue her strength of schedule, particularly how the bout was scored.

Andrade is four years younger than Lemos and her only losses over the last seven years have come against strawweight champions. Any talk of Andrade being washed up was quickly silenced when “Bate Estaca” blew through Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 266 back in September. I would expect a couple of rounds of strawweight insanity between two very dangerous combatants, but Lemos is going to fade somewhere in the middle of round two, or perhaps early round three, and the rest of her fight is going to go about as well as it went for Artax in the Swamps of Sadness.

Prediction: Andrade def. Lemos by technical knockout

Note: The original co-headliner between Tanner Boser and Alexandr Romanov was scrapped after “The Bulldozer” bowed out with injury. The promotion eventually found a replacement in the form of Chase Sherman but opted to elevate the lightweight showdown between Clay Guida and Claudio Puelles to the co-main event, deconstructed below by pro fighter and MMAmania.com writer Andrew Richardson.

155 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Claudio Puelles

Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida

Record: 37-21 | Age: 40 | Betting line: -110
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 14 SUB, 16 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 10 SUB, 9 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.53 | Striking accuracy: 34%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.76 | Striking Defense: 62%
Takedown Average: 3.26 (38% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 68%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Submission win over Leonardo Santos

Claudio ‘El Niño’ Puelles

Record: 11-2 | Age: 26 | Betting line: -110
Wins: 2 KO/TKO, 6 SUB, 3 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’10“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.07 | Striking accuracy: 51%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.98 | Striking Defense: 46%
Takedown Average: 2.87 (38% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 55%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Submission win over Chris Gruetzemacher

Clay Guida may be 40 years of age, but the grinder is still making it a habit of out-hustling opponents on the canvas. To add to that long-time wrestling skill, Guida’s right hand and calf kicks have been growing more dangerous over the years, proving there’s still plenty in the tank.

On the other side of the equation — did you know Claudio Puelles has been on UFC’s roster since 2016? He’s been through some layoffs, but fought twice in 2021, renewing interest in the potential of the former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) contestant. Puelles is primarily a grappler, but he’s got some Muay Thai skill, too.

Puelles has some definite skill, and he did just recently out-finesse a solid grinder in Chris Gruetzemacher. “El Nino” is likely to engage a similar gameplan here: land big shots on the feet and hunt for submissions when the pair come together.

Guida has been hurt and submitted in recent years — that’s a reality of growing older. However, as his last fight demonstrated, Guida remains a difficult man to finish, one not likely to stop pushing unless he’s fully stopped. His durability and gas tank are still very solid, and his wrestling is superior here.

All in all, that adds up to a grinding grappling match, likely full of blood and sweat. Sounds like a classic Guida fight to me!

Prediction: Guida def. Puelles by decision

Holland’s two cents: Guida’s awful striking (just 38% accuracy) hasn’t hurt him throughout his career and I don’t expect it to start here. Expect “The Carpenter” to spam takedowns early and often, though unlike Mr. Richardson, I can’t overlook the fact that Guida has 21 career losses — 10 of which have come by way of submission. Puelles is 14 years younger than his “Fight Night” foe and the winner of four straight. A first-round submission would not surprise me.

Prediction: Puelles def. Guida by submission

Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 52 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 52 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 52 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here. For the updated and finalized “Lemos vs. Andrade” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.