In the main event of UFC Vegas 52, we saw a pivotal matchup in the strawweight division. Former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (23-9) was returning to the division after a three-fight stint at flyweight to take on Amanda Lemos (11-2-1).
Both of these ladies had a lot of momentum leading up to UFC Vegas 52. Lemos was on a winning streak and Andrade was coming off of a stretch where she went 2-1 at flyweight with two first round stoppages. The only loss at 125 she suffered was against the champion Valentina Shevchenko.
When the fight started on Saturday night, I was very impressed with Lemos. She came right out and was doing a very good job of controlling range and she landed some good shots early. The big question would be rather or not she could take the power from the former UFC champion.
Later on in the first round, they ended up in a clinch against the fence. Andrade was able to lock up a standing arm-triangle, but nobody had ever won a fight via standing arm-triangle in the UFC. Lemos tried fighting, but Andrade locked it in deeper. Eventually, Lemos tapped and Andrade made history.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 52?
Make no mistake about it, Jessica Andrade made a massive statement with her performance on Saturday night. The former champion is now 3-1 in her last four fights with three first round finishes. She will likely be at the very top of the UFC’s strawweight rankings this week.
With that, what’s next for her? Well, in a couple of weeks, Rose Namajunas is defending her title against Carla Esparza. If Namajunas wins, there is a really compelling storyline with Andrade. The two have fought twice before with each fighter picking up a victory.
Andrade won the title from Namajunas by a knockout slam at UFC 237. Then, Namajunas edged out Andrade by split decision on Fight Island. I’m sure many would be in favor of the UFC doing the trilogy fight next. However, you do have Marina Rodriguez standing right there who has won four fights in a row.
Considering the strawweight division, I think the UFC will move forward with one of two options for Andrade. Either she will be in a title eliminator against Rodriguez next, or she’ll get the trilogy fight with Namajunas should Thug Rose retain in a couple of weeks.