Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight standouts Jessica Andrade and Lauren Murphy will go to war this weekend (Sat., Jan. 21, 2023) at UFC 283 inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
I’ll admit that Andrade’s recent career decisions confound me. After a failed Flyweight title bid, she dropped back to 115 pounds and promptly strangled Amanda Lemos (the current top contender). Rather than pursue the Strawweight title when Carla Esparza was champ, she moved back to Flyweight, slowing her own momentum. Bottom line, however, is that Andrade is one of the world’s best at whatever weight class she chooses to compete. Murphy, meanwhile, is one fight removed from her own loss to Valentina Shevchenko. She bounced back nicely, ruining Miesha Tate’s would-be rise at 125 pounds to remain a player in the title mix.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Rose Namajunas (UFC 237), Katlyn Chookagian (UFC Fight Island 6), Claudia Gadelha (UFC Fight Night 117), Amanda Lemos (UFC Vegas 52), Karolina Kowalkiewicz (UFC 228), Tecia Torres (UFC on FOX 28), Cynthia Calvillo (UFC 266)
Key Losses: Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 261), Weili Zhang (UFC Fight Night 157), Rose Namajunas (UFC 251), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 211)
Keys to Victory: Andrade is an absolute power house. The former Strawweight champion rose to elite status by slamming opponents left and right, and battering foes on the feet when the takedown didn’t come.
Seventeen finishes in 23 fights ain’t shabby.
The only real danger here for Andrade comes from getting taken down. Murphy is a capable wrestler and top player, and she’ll be a touch bigger given the weight class. If Andrade isn’t careful with her cage position, she could find herself getting controlled along the fence, which could make for a difficult night.
Fortunately, aggression is a simple solution, and it’s one that Andrade routinely employs anyway. If she’s the one backing Murphy up — and she certainly has the power in her hands to do so — then it’s going to be much more difficult for Murphy to enforce any style of control. She’ll be too busy getting blasted by body shots and overhands, both of which serve to set up Andrade’s own takedowns should she choose to change levels.
Key Wins: Miesha Tate (UFC Long Island), Joanne Calderwood (UFC 263), Roxanne Modafferi (UFC on ESPN 11), Andrea Lee (UFC 247), Mara Romero Borella (UFC on ESPN 5)
Key Losses: Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 266), Sijara Eubanks (UFC Fight Night 131), Katlyn Chookagian (UFC Fight Night 91)
Keys to Victory: Murphy is a hard-nosed veteran with plenty of experience. She’s a capable wrestler and kickboxer, but she’s scored her best wins on the strength of her conditioning, toughness, and physicality more than anything else.
Andrade is more vulnerable at 125 pounds than Strawweight. She’s still a major physical force, but not quite as overwhelming. Without that massive strength edge, Andrade can be controlled and even taken down.
The key for Murphy is not getting smashed before she can close distance. She should waste little to no time in clinching up or ducking into a shot. Every exchange in the pocket is a chance for Andrade to pulverize the mid-section or blast her upstairs, both of which hurt Murphy’s chances of ever gaining top position.
“Lucky” has to commit to the grind and embrace the boo birds if she’s to have a shot here.
This is a high level Flyweight fight with unclear stakes.
Andrade is essentially Top 5 in two weight classes, bouncing between the two with no clear path to gold in either. Still, given Shevchenko’s effortless dominance over “Bate Estaca,” Strawweight seems the better idea. Perhaps victory here moves her closer to a rematch with Zhang Weili — it’s not really clear.
The situation is a bit more clear for Murphy, who is only fighting at Flyweight. She’s already within the Top Five and coming off a win, so even though her own scrap with Shevchenko was less than competitive, she’d be back in the mix. More to the point, defeating Andrade would be the biggest scalp of her professional career, a major accomplishment in its own right.
At UFC 283, Jessica Andrade and Lauren Murphy will battle. Which athlete will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 283 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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