UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga takes place this Saturday night in Seattle. While there hasn't been a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding the card, it truly is one that is well-rounded from top to bottom.
One of the highlights is Liz Carmouche's first fight since nearly stunning the MMA world in February when she took on Ronda Rousey. Carmouche came within inches of wearing the championship belt around her waist when she cranked the neck of Rousey in a thrilling standing guillotine.
With the fight in Anaheim behind her, Carmouche now takes on a 21-year-old up-and-comer in Jessica Andrade. Andrade holds a professional record of 9-2 with all of her wins coming by knockout or submission.
Carmouche is considered the biggest favorite on the card based on the latest odds, and for good reason. Let's take a look at the head-to-toe breakdown of Carmouche vs. Andrade.
The "Girl-Rilla" is far and away the better technical striker between the two. Over her last five fights, Carmouche has landed an absurd rate of significant strikes landed per minute with 4.2. Five of Carmouche's eight wins have come by knockout, and she has the chin to stand toe-to-toe with her opponent should that situation present itself.
When Carmouche is on her feet, she looks comfortable. She is able to bounce in and out of the pocket and doesn't stay in the same spot for too long. In addition to her technical advantages over Andrade, she also has the power to end a fight with a flurry of punches.
Andrade has some power in her punches, there's no doubt about that, but she doesn't have the experience or technical ability to punch without leaving herself vulnerable to a counter or a takedown by Carmouche.
While Andrade does have four knockouts on her record, it should be noted that she hasn't faced anybody as good as Carmouche. The leap she is making from the fighters she has faced to Carmouche is one reason why she's a huge underdog in this matchup.
While striking is her strong point, the fact that Carmouche came "this close" to making Rousey tap is symbolic of how comfortable and dangerous she can be on the ground.
Carmouche has submission wins over Kaitlin Young and Aleena Albertson, but neither one of those fighters currently have or went on to have any sort of success in their MMA career. If it wasn't for Carmouche's performance against Rousey, this might not be an advantage for her.
While on the ground, Carmouche might be better at avoiding a submission than she is advancing to end a fight. It's her defensive work on the canvas that will keep her out of danger against Andrade. In her last four fights, Carmouche has stuffed half of her opponents' takedown attempts.
One of the more impressive aspects of Andrade's game is how relentless she is when she gets her opponent on the ground. In the film I've watched of her, she seems to not only win fights on the ground, but she also wears her opponents out to the point where they are literally lying on the mat in between rounds.
Andrade's signature move is the guillotine choke, but she's been successful, so far, because she has fought people who are a few notches below Carmouche. In my opinion, the only way she would be able to submit Carmouche is if she tired her out and then locked in the choke. Carmouche isn't going to get tired, and the choke isn't going to happen.
I do believe, offensively, Andrade holds the advantage over Carmouche, defensively she still leaves herself susceptible too often.
Advantage: Carmouche (ground defense), Andrade (ground offense)
"Girl-Rilla" has already been on the greatest stage women's MMA has ever seen when she headlined UFC 157 with Rousey. Carmouche has fought some of the best fighters in the sport in addition to Rousey, including Marloes Coenen and Sarah Kaufman. Granted, she lost to all three of those fighters, but the experience she gained shouldn't be underestimated.
Andrade is going to be a good fighter, but she's still pretty raw. She shows flashes of brilliance with her striking and ground game, but she has yet to fully commit to fighting smart and staying out of trouble. The video selected with this slide is her last fight against Milana Dudieva in which she won in the second round via guillotine choke.
When watching her fight, you'll get a sense as to how she makes herself vulnerable more often than she should. You'll also see the potential she has to be a great fighter.
Going from fighting, where she has to a nationally televised event, is going to be a huge adrenaline rush for Andrade, and we've all heard about the dreaded "adrenaline dump."
Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade are going to give the Fox audience a great start to the main card. I expect both fighters to come out swinging without any sort of feeling-out process.
Andrade is in way over her head against Carmouche. While she has the potential to be a great fighter, her striking is nowhere near as refined as Carmouche's. Andrade does, however, hold an advantage when it comes to her offensive ground game. The only variable is that she's been successful against other fighters who aren't very good.
Carmouche knows she's much better than Andrade, but she has to worry about looking past her and getting caught with a flurry of punches that could lead to a guillotine choke. I just don't see Carmouche taking the bait and fighting down to Andrade's level.
I always seem to jinx heavy favorites when I say they have it in the bag, but from what I know about both fighters, this should be a first-round win for Carmouche.
Prediction: Carmouche via TKO (Round 1)