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Growing at all costs: Jessica Andrade’s drive for success

Dan Tom

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Post UFC 207, the streets of Las Vegas still show signs of the storm as most businesses begin to open back up and most people are just now recovering from a crazy New Years weekend. However, one key player from last weekend’s fight festivities remains in Las Vegas, working away as if no event ever happened.

That is because no event ever did happen for one Jessica Andrade. Originally slated to face Maryna Moroz, Andrade would find herself having to accept a replacement opponent just 3-weeks out from her scheduled bout. Having no problem in facing the offered fighter in Angela Hill, Andrade would once again find herself opponent-less just one-week later due to a USADA testing pool technicality. With the UFC seemingly having no luck in scrambling to find an opponent for Jessica, the Brazilian prospect was officially removed from the card just 9-days out. Although that sympathetic story makes for a playable violin, Andrade prefers playing on a punching bag as she has seemingly parlayed this experience into a positive.

“It is unfortunate that the fight got canceled–especially in the way that it was, but we are just trying to make the most out of it since we’re already here in Vegas. Luckily, Tiago has a lot of good contacts and my coach is very open to letting us try different things and trying to work with different people to try and learn new stuff. We were able to work a lot with Angelo, work on the boxing, go to Drysdale’s and work on the grappling, so overall I am 100% sure that I am going out of Vegas a better fighter that I am coming in.”

When asking Andrade about expanding on her experiences here in Las Vegas, and how it related to her current run for the title, the Brazilian contender gave an interesting answer that certainly made it clear as to where she sees her future heading.

“For sure, all the fans can expect a better Jessica coming out of this and one of the best things that we already got to do was we got a chance to train with a lot of people that had trained with Joanna before, so a lot of people had very good insight on many things regarding her and I think that overall, I am coming out of Vegas with a much better chance of putting on a fight and taking the belt back to Brazil whenever that fight happens.”

Considering the trend of many Brazilians that have come before Jessica, I was curious if she had any intentions of making more permanent visits to the United States whether they be residential or just for training camp purposes.

“Eventually, I think that is something that we could do, even (my)coach wants to come up here. The thing is, in Brazil, the training is not as technical on a lot of aspects. Back home, there is a lot of ‘face punching’ you know? A lot of being tough, but by learning the small technical details, it makes a lot of differences and this is something that we have here with Angelo and with Drysdale on both sides of the spectrum. Eventually, I think this could be the right move. Before, I was not as ready emotionally I think, but now I am in a better place and I think that I am able to learn and hold information better. If this was a year ago, maybe they would show me these things and I pretty much would not get it. I might lose most of the information that I got and would not be able to put it into practice. But now, after earning my purple belt, I think I am more mature and can make the most out of this opportunity.”

I found this answer from Andrade refreshing, as I could clearly see the comradery and closeness she had with her head coach Gilliard Parana and Manager, Tiago Okamura. To me, they represented a team that was truly symbiotic in the way in which they collectively thought to achieve goals without ego or issue. Despite the 10 victores that Jessica has earned under Gilliard’s PRVT Team, Parana has no issues in loosening leashes and allowing for growth as they all seem to have had high praise for the work of renown striking coach, Angelo Reyes.

“It was really nice that coach Angelo validated a lot of the work that we do in Brazil. The good thing is that he has a good eye on how to improve on the work that we do. He is not trying to change anything that I do, he is not trying to put a new game in my head, but he is trying to give me things that would help me become a better fighter. He showed us a lot of techniques, has a good eye for finding holes in our game, and he was able to point out a lot of details that we knew were a problem, but could not point out exactly why. That, I think is the major thing that we are taking from this time with Angelo–his analysis of the game and the way he is able to find things that can make us go around the problems is very good, it is not something we would find in Brazil.”

With tactical training accounted for, the looming question still remained as I asked Andrade if the UFC had helped compensate her financially through this time or if they were at least able to reach out with possible re-bookings.

“Right now, we are waiting for one more fight. The UFC has mentioned the title fight as something within our reach, though there weren’t any talks of going straight to the title fight. But, to be honest, we are in our second fight in this division and I think that there is a lot of work to be done still. We are not taking this lightly, you know? If we are gonna go for the title, we are gonna go to get the belt. And for that, we need to have enough money to put into camp. We need to do one more fight and make sure that we are capitalizing to a point to where we can do a proper investment and make this the best camp that I can because I am not going there just to be another title defense for Joanna, we’re going there to take the belt.”

With no real clear answers, much less confirmations, I asked Andrade what her ideal matchup would be if she could call her shot. Wasting little time in naming a fighter, Jessica would reveal some potential issues she had with a former champion.

“The ideal scenario would have been to have fought on 207 against Angela and then we could be focused right now with money in the bank, ready to spend it so that we have the best camp possible. But since that did not happen, right now we are just waiting. The UFC has not given us an official date or an official opponent, but we are hoping to fight Angela in January or February. We could have taken on Carla Esparza, Carla is someone we have been trying to fight with since early on. That was supposed to be our first fight at strawweight, but for whatever reason, she ended taking a fight with Juliana Lima and I had to fight Penne. That is a fight that is stuck in our throats a little bit, but we really want to do it and it would be a good fight to validate my run for the title. For me to go and beat number three, that would make a lot of sense in the division, but I guess that is not in her plans. She apparently has another fight lined up, but we will see against who because let’s be honest, it has been 21-months since Carla has fought anyone that was highly ranked and now I am hoping she fights someone in the Top-5 to validate her position in the rankings.”

Potential shade aside, Andrade showed little distraction as she seemed more than focused on the bigger picture at play.

“The main thing is that I don’t want anyone to look at me and say that I skipped ahead of the line, so I want to make sure that we did our work in the division. Although I am coming into my 10th-fight in the UFC, I only fought two at strawweight so I want to make sure that I beat up everyone that I have to beat up, get my right place in the rankings, and get the title fight when it is the real time.”

And although the real time for a title shot can be hard to predict in this day in age, I do feel that the strawweight division has itself a real contender it can get excited about as I hope Jessica Andrade gets an opportunity to shine sooner rather than later.

Jessica Andrade interview audio here:

For more on this story and other happenings in the MMA world visit MMALatestNews.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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