This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 295, we saw a big time matchup in the strawweight division. Former champion Jessica Andrade (25-12) was looking to get back on track as she took on Mackenzie Dern (13-4).
Entering 2023, Andrade looked like the top contender at both 115 and 125 pounds. That was further solidified with her first fight of the year when she brutalized Lauren Murphy to start the year. Prior to that, her last fight at 115 featured her submitting Amanda Lemos who challenged for the title this year against Zhang Weili.
However, Andrade’s status took a nose dive. She was finished in three straight fights by Erin Blanchfield, Yan Xiaonan, and Tatiana Suarez. Those losses put her behind the eight-ball heading into UFC 295. She needed a win in the worst way and she had to get by Mackenzie Dern.
Fortunately for Andrade, she was able to keep the fight standing on Saturday. Dern was having a lot of success landing shots from distance. However, you could tell Dern was a little intimidated by the potential power shots coming her way. In the final seconds of the first round, Dern got dropped by Andrade.
In the second round, Andrade really turned it on. The former UFC champion dropped Dern multiple times and then finally dropped her for good giving her the much needed TKO victory.
What’s next after UFC 295?
This was so big for Jessica Andrade to get her back in good standing at strawweight. The former champion was going to be in a lot of trouble had she lost four fights in a row. However, we don’t even have to think about that now with her getting the big time TKO win.
Now that she’s back in the win column, what should be next for the former UFC champion? Well, in looking at the fighters ranked ahead of her and her history with all of them, there’s only one fight that really jumps out. To me, the right fight is booking Andrade against Virna Jandiroba.
Jandiroba needs a signature win having won two straight against the likes of Marina Rodriguez and Angela Hill. She’s 3-1 in her last four and she’s ranked sixth. It’s a great test for her and it’s still a top opponent for Andrade. The fight makes sense when you look at it from all angles.