Jessica Andrade, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s strawweight titleholder, finds herself in an uncharted territory as she prepares for her next bout. She currently sports a career-worst three-fight losing streak, which she aims to break in her much-anticipated and challenging face-off with Mackenzie Dern at UFC 295. The match, scheduled for a three-round showcase at Madison Square Garden, New York, places Andrade in a precarious situation where no room for errors is afforded.
Andrade recognizes the gravity of her situation, acknowledging her recent defeats as a new and unpalatable experience. These unexpected losses have presented her with valuable lessons that she learns from. Andrade’s losing streak commenced with her capitulation to Erin Blanchfield’s rear-naked choke at UFC Fight Night 219. The losing trend was exacerbated by her knockout defeat to Xiaonan Yan at UFC 288 and then further compounded when she succumbed to the guillotine choke of Tatiana Suarez at UFC 50. This string of setbacks served as a wake-up call for the 32-year-old Brazilian, motivating her to enhance her striking and groundwork to dodge the prospect of repeats of her recent dismal performances.
Keen on regaining her long-lost touch, Andrade has been fortifying her mental and physical prowess with rigorous training. She has also elected to train in America, enticed by the abundance of high-level training partners, a nutritionist, a physical therapist, and the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas. Her relocation efforts appear to have revitalized her, as she feels more at ease and more focused on improving her game. As she looks forward to her imminent fight, Andrade faces an ominous challenge from Dern who has noteworthy victories in six of her previous eight fights.
Moreover, Dern entered the upcoming showdown with a wave of momentum, fresh from outscoring Angela Hill to clinch a unanimous decision in their five-round main event at UFC Fight Night 223 on May 20th. Anticipating Dern’s strong jiu-jitsu game, Andrade believes a standup game strategy could help level the playing field. The Brazilian fighter seeks a decisive win, preferably a knockout, to avoid exposing her vulnerabilities. Even though Andrade’s recent bouts underwhelm, she remains relentless and optimistic about a successful recovery beginning with a victory against Dern.