Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight standouts Jessica Andrade and Erin Blanchfield will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Feb. 18, 2023) at UFC Vegas 69 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Andrade is one of the most badass women on the roster. She bounces effortlessly between two divisions, routinely taking out top contenders in each. After beating up top-ranked Lauren Murphy less than one month ago and seemingly locking down a title shot, she’ll return to action on short-notice against the division’s best prospect.
Who does that?
Blanchfield has made a quick impression. The 23-year-old talent has climbed into the Top 10 after just four fights, pretty clearly dominating each of her opponents to remain unbeaten in the Octagon. She looks very much like the real deal at 125 pounds, but this remains a massive step up in competition for “Cold Blooded.”
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), Lauren Murphy (UFC 283)
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 the strongest woman in the sport. Though I mean that in the pound-for-pound sense — larger elite athletes like Cris Cyborg can presumably deadlift more than “Bate Estaca” — Andrade probably isn’t that far off in the literal sense, either.
With punches and slams alike, she just pulverizes opponents.
On the whole, this style match up is very reasonable for Andrade. Blanchfield’s grappling is definitely a threat, but Andrade is the far superior striker. She’s a jiu-jitsu black belt herself and can more than hold her own in the wrestling, meaning that getting submitted quickly probably isn’t a huge concern.
The big threat here is getting controlled. Andrade isn’t quick as obscenely strong at 125 pounds, meaning getting taken down and controlled is a more significant threat. To avoid that fate, a bit of patience would go a long way here. Blanchfield has proven herself adept at timing big swings with double legs, so Andrade would really be wise to straighten out her punching just a bit.
Really, just beginning every combination with a body shot would shut down the reactive takedown. After a couple rounds of wearing Blanchfield down, then she can swing for the home run with her usual reckless abandon.
Key Wins: Miranda Maverick (UFC 269), JJ Aldrich (UFC Vegas 56), Molly McCann (UFC 281), Kay Hansen (Invicta FC 32)
Key Losses: Tracy Cortez (Invicta FC 34)
Keys to Victory: Blanchfield already looks like one of the best grapplers in women’s mixed martial arts (MMA). She’s known for her Brazilian jiu-jitsu skill and accomplishments, but it’s a really promising sign that Blanchfield has consistently shown strong wrestling fundamentals as well, both from the clinch and lower body shots.
Typically, Blanchfield likes to pressure her opponents with jabs and kicks then shoot when they swing back. That could totally work against Andrade, because the Brazilian will swing back. However, it could also get Blanchfield flatlined, because she definitely leaves herself open to counters with her distance management.
Instead, it might be worth it to try circling more and avoiding engagements. Again, Andrade is wildly aggressive and will swing huge given the slightest reason. That might be Blanchfield’s easiest and safest setup for the takedown, after which, she’s in her wheelhouse. Once on the ground, control has to be the top priority. Andrade can end fights suddenly, so never allowing her back to the feet is optimal.
A former champion collides with a blue champ prospect.
The time has come for a second showdown between Jessica Andrade and Zhang Weili. It’s easy to forget that back when Andrade was champion, she took on Weili in her home country in a fairly short-notice booking. There’s history there, and Andrade’s win streak is already better than anyone else capable of making 115 pounds.
As for Blanchfield, does victory equate to a title shot? It would certainly be deserved, seeing as Andrade has been largely untouchable at Flyweight for all except for Valentina Shevchenko. Earned or not, it may be a case of too much, too soon. Blanchfield could probably use a bit more time in the cage before facing “Bullet,” but she may not be awarded the chance.
At UFC Vegas 69, Jessica Andrade and Erin Blanchfield will go to war in a pivotal Flyweight battle. Which woman earns the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 69 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
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