Jessica Andrade became the new strawweight champion last night after knocking out Rose Namajunas in the second round in the main event of UFC 237. Andrade slammed Namajunas on her head and followed up with two strikes which put “Thug Rose” out.
How Andrade was able to flip the tide and get the slam in the second round was impressive. Namajunas was defending the slam well all night, but in between rounds, the challenger’s corner gave her sound advice.
“I noticed she was dodging (my strikes), blood got in my eyes and I couldn’t see anything, but I stayed calm because the strategy was right,” Andrade said, speaking about her performance at the post-fight press conference. “I spoke with my master in between rounds and he said that I had already felt her hands, that I knew what could happen, ‘So let’s keep going because everything will be alright now. Keep working on those kicks because she’s getting tired.’ And it worked.
“When I put her against the fence, he said, ‘Go for it, go for it because it will work.’ I couldn’t believe I went for the pile driver.”
However, a neck injury is a serious thing and after Andrade saw Namajunas was okay, it only made her appreciate her slam even more.
“I saw her lying there, that she was out, and I still landed two punches before the referee stepped in,” Andrade said. “But I hadn’t realized how serious it was. I got worried because we train to go in there and fight and everyone comes out okay. She woke up later and I relaxed, ‘Okay, I can celebrate for real now because she’s fine. Everything went fine, I didn’t kill her [laughs].’ I didn’t imagine that would happen.
“I believe the pile driver worked because she kept holding my arm and I think she was going for a submission, but since I took her too high and moved her over my head and threw her, there was no way, she fell on her face and went out immediately.”