Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Nashville, we are going to see a pivotal matchup in the women’s strawweight division. Former champion Jessica Andrade (24-11) welcomes Tatiana Suarez (9-0) back down to the strawweight division.
A few years ago, it wasn’t considered an “if” Tatiana Suarez would become a UFC champion but more a question of “when”. That said, her career took a nasty turn as injuries continued to pile up and she was held out of action for nearly four years. She returned at flyweight back in February and submitted Montana De La Rosa in the second round.
While she competed at flyweight to get her feet wet, Suarez made it clear that she planned on returning to 115. She successfully made weight this morning for her bout against the former champ Jessica Andrade.
Back in January, Jessica Andrade brutalized former flyweight challenger Lauren Murphy in Brazil. It was her third straight win and she looked like she could get a title shot at 115 or 125. Then, she took a very short notice fight against Erin Blanchfield at flyweight which proved to be an awful decision.
Blanchfield dominated with her grappling and won by submission in the second. Andrade returned to 115 to take on Yan Xiaonan at UFC 288 and got knocked out in the first round. Now, just a few months removed from being arguably the top contender in two divisions, she’s lost back-to-back fights in dominating fashion.
UFC Nashville Prediction
Unfortunately for Andrade, the road doesn’t get any easier. Suarez is a bad matchup for Andrade especially if you watch the way the Blanchfield fight played out. If Suarez can get ahold of Andrade, she could be in for a very long night. I just don’t know if the former champion can keep the fight on the feet if Suarez gets ahold of her.
On the flip side, there’s real danger for Suarez if she can’t get the fight to the mat. Andrade hits so hard and if she finds the chin of Suarez, Suarez could be in a lot of trouble. The first round is going to tell me everything I need to know about this fight.
I think Suarez is going to weather the Andrade storm in the first round at UFC Nashville. As the fight goes on, Suarez will continue to impose her will and I believe she’ll break the former champion. Late in the second round, she’ll secure a dominant position and rain down shots until the referee pulls her off.
Prediction: Tatiana Suarez by TKO – Round 2