Jessica Andrade explains history-making submission: ‘I am pretty scary at close quarters’


Former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade knew the first part of her UFC Vegas 52 headliner with Amanda Lemos would be unpleasant. She had an idea for it, and had practiced it.

As it turned out, Andrade got the perfect opportunity to apply it and, on Saturday at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, she became the first UFC fighter to submit an opponent by standing arm-triangle choke when Lemos tapped out at 3:13 of Round 1.

” The plan was, according to paper, to exhaust her in the first, possibly second, round so that I could assume control in the third.” Andrade explained afterwards. She was likely to harm me so I had to be careful in the first round. Girls get desperate when I’m in close quarters. I can also scare them at close quarters.

” The moment I made contact with her, her arm raised and she said “OK, this is the move that we have been practicing for the whole week .'”


Watching cageside, Andrade’s coach talked her through the sequence, advising her to stay with the choke and to stay on top if the action pitched to the canvas. That might have been one expected outcome given Lemos’ height, which she used early to pepper the ex-strawweight champ with kicks and punches at distance. The disadvantage was easily overcome when the two of them were close together.

” “Practically everyone is taller then me so it’s really not that much of a problem,” Andrade smiled.

The highlight-reel win marked Andrade’s return to 115 pounds after a three-fight stint at flyweight. She wasn’t forced to make the move because of a skid, earning a 2-1 record at 125 pounds. She chose to go back because her training and life circumstances had changed.

“I was given two weight reductions in my previous fights at strawweight and this is what motivated me to fight flyweight,” Andrade stated. “Things weren’t going well – my head wasn’t in a good place. The last two I’d had were quite traumatizing. We decided to take a rest. We’ll give it some more time. Let’s try something above in the weight category. Let’s just remove weight cutting from your mind for a little bit.

“As well as things went at flyweight, strawweight is where I’m going to excel at. While I’m confident that I can do well at flyweight I also know that bantamweight is where I excel. If I’m looking to become a champion, then strawweight is where to go .”

Indeed, Andrade has often fought at a disadvantage in the octagon, starting her career as a bantamweight when there were scant opportunities for women in the UFC. The addition of new weight classes gave her options, but the one she sees the best for her career is at 115 pounds, where she once held the strawweight title.

In the coming two months three of Andrade’s former foes will meet in crucial strawweight fights. Rose Namajunas is scheduled to face Carla Esparza again at UFC 274, while Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk are confirmed to be meeting at UFC 275..

Andrade re-started her journey ranked at No. 10 was in her old weight division so it wasn’t expected that she would jump into the title picture. With a highlight-reel finish and another victory, however, she believes she could be in a different position,

“I think this is a big win,” she said. We knew that I had been ranked No.1 going into the contest. 10, so I couldn’t really expect to be a title challenger right away. But it was also on my mind that, maybe if we do something different, if we have a devastating win, if we really do something outside of the norm, maybe, who knows. It’s a tough division. I have a lot of other girls to follow me. Perhaps we could start a conversation.

“No mater what, I’m willing to stay active as long as the girls fight right away. – Joanna Weili. If I can fight someone there it would be great. Hopefully, it could be soon, because they’re fighting next month. But if that doesn’t happen, if there’s something good at flyweight, I don’t mind fighting there. If I see something at bantamweight that is interesting, I will fight it. It’s all good. Just keep me ranked everywhere, and I’ll fight whoever’s in front of me.”