Former Jungle Fight champion, Amanda Lemos, will take a major step up opposite knockout artist, Jessica Andrade, this Saturday (April 23, 2022, 2021) at UFC Vegas 52 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lemos’ career trajectory is certainly unusual. The Brazilian brought an undefeated record (6-0-1) and regional title into her UFC debut, where she came up short vs. longtime veteran Leslie Smith. For more than two years after that fight, Lemos was sidelined by a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspension, and she returned two weight classes lighter at 115 pounds. Since that return, however, Lemos has been on fire. She’s won five in a row, a streak that includes a pair of first-round knockout victories. Most women cannot afford to trade with Andrade, but perhaps Lemos is the exception that can hurt “Bate Estaca” right back.
Let’s take a closer look at her skill set:
Lemos is a powerful striker with a good sense of distance and timing. Earlier in the week, I compared her opponent Jessica Andrade to infamous slugger John Lineker, and if I was to make a similar comparison for Lemos, I’d choose Deiveson Figueiredo as a fair starting point.
Like the Flyweight kingpin, Lemos is more stationary than most of her peers, evidence of her priority of landing heavy shots. Furthermore, she stands a bit wide and switches stances fairly often, usually with the intent of lining up singular and powerful connections.
Lemos likes at distance. Often, she starts fights by trying to blast her opponents with kicks. Switching stances, Lemos feints a bit before firing naked power kicks. This can be risky, but when your low kick knocks an opponent well out of stance, it does dilute the odds of a counter. Lemos does smart work in attacking the open side (i.e. right calf kicks and left body kicks vs. an Orthodox opponent). Against Angela Hill, she nearly ended the fight in the first round with a sudden front kick to the chin.
From this range, a pair of situations often play out, and Lemos is built to capitalize upon both. Generally, fighters do not like hanging back and getting power-kicking into a pulp — it’s a bad time! As such, the typical response is pressure and combination punching. Most fighters — male or female — tend to lean forward a bit while chasing, which leaves their head at a very hittable distance while their own punches come up short.
Lemos’ ability to plant her feet and time a right hand as her opponent steps forward is very good (GIF).
Lemos is a strong athlete, and her wider stance makes it easier to shift her weight and deliver powerful shots. Having knockout power in a division where relative few of her peers can crack is huge. In some fights, such as her beatdown of Lívia Renata Souza, power alone was enough to decide the fight.
While on the offensive, Lemos sticks to short combinations. She’ll fire a stiff jab (GIF), 1-2, or cross hook, cutting off the cage and occasionally going to the body. Each of these strikes can do real damage, and she’s comfortable in longer exchanges if her opponent tries to counter.
It’s not complicated, but power changes the equation significantly.
Lemos is a willing wrestler, if not an overly technical one. Similar to Andrade, it cannot be overstated how helpful strength and physicality are in completing takedowns. Lemos has gained top position by yanking her opponent’s leg over their head or big yanks from the upper body clinch, a pair of tactics made far easier by having a strength advantage.
At 115 lbs., that strength has been similarly helpful in avoiding the takedown. Her offensive lunges can be countered with takedown attempts, but generally, Lemos is quick to frame off the head and scramble back to her feet in such situations.
Lemos has just two total career submission victories, including one inside the Octagon. Her second-round rear naked choke over Miranda Granger was an interesting one, fortunately, as Lemos was able to finish the strangle from an odd position. Generally, one of the fundamental rules of back mount and finishing the rear naked choke is chest-to-back connection.
Basically, the person taking the back wants to actually be behind the other person.
As Granger worked to stand up, however, her side and back were to the fence and cage, preventing Lemos from circling behind. She left her neck open though, which allowed Lemos to reach across her own body and sink an arm under the neck. Immediately, the Brazilian fully committed to locking up the grip and squeezing, putting her opponent to sleep from that sideways positioning (GIF).
Position before submission is a good general rule, but if the necks open, a choke’s a choke!
For the first time since likely her UFC debut at Bantamweight, Lemos will be facing an opponent who can match (and likely exceed) her physicality. That’s a tall order for the Brazilian, but if she can time that right hand counter as Andrade bullies forward, a single shot could change everything.
Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.
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