Jessica Andrade Wins Title After Beating Rose Namajunas via Knockout at UFC 237

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2019

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MAY 10: Jessica Andrade of Brazil poses on the scale during the UFC 237 weigh-in at Jeunesse Arena on May 10, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Jessica Andrade joined the ranks of UFC champions with a thunderous second-round knockout win over "Thug" Rose Namajunas to become the women's strawweight champion in the main event of UFC 237 from Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

After struggling with the speed and footwork of Namajunas in the first frame, the new champion came roaring back with a stunning slam knockout in the second round.

The fighters wasted no time in plying their trades in an exciting start to the fight. 

Andrade looked to stalk Namajunas down, but the champion had no problem responding to the aggression with counters and movement. Losing the exchanges Andrade went for a slam but was denied by Namajunas' kimura. 

Another takedown was answered with an armbar attempt that allowed Thug Rose to work back to her feet in as strong a start as the defending champion could want. 

But Andrade showcased just how volatile MMA can be. As she went for the slam in the second round, it didn't matter that Namajunas once again had control of the arm. She was dropped on her head and the fight was over when she hit the ground. 

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The win is the high mark of what has been an impressive run since dropping down to 115 pounds. The Brazilian had mixed results as a 135-pounder but has just one loss as a strawweight, and that was to Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Since that loss, Joanna Violence has lost to Namajunas twice while Andrade has done nothing but win.

Andrade's day for redemption might not be far behind this win. Jedrzejczyk is still the No. 2-ranked contender in the division and had an unsuccessful move up to flyweight in her last bout. The new champion has already said she's much more confident than she was when the two met the first time.

"The Jessica back from the first title fight wasn't very confident, to be honest," Andrade said, per Dave Doyle and Ken Hathaway of MMAjunkie. "The biggest concern back then was how I was going to do for five rounds."

Now, a lot of those doubts have been cleared up.

Of course, the UFC has options outside of Jedrzejczyk for the new champ. Tatiana Suarez and Nina Ansaroff are set to square off at UFC 238, and the winner will have a strong case for a title shot.

With a new champion, the women's strawweight division just became even more interesting.