After my fight against Andrade at #UFCHouston, I definitely feel like I was able to expose a few openings in her game, but I still think she has a good chance of scoring an upset this weekend.
In my fight I felt like I hesitated when my corner called for step-through knees and outside elbows, but when I finally threw them they worked and I was able to cut her on both cheeks before the final bell. Joanna is particularly good at those things, so I'm expecting her to sting Andrade a few times as she charges in. Also, Joanna being bigger and longer than me -- it's going to be a lot harder for Andrade to pressure her to the fence where it's easier to score points from flurries and takedowns. Joanna doesn't typically start kicking until her opponent is hurt but it's doubtful Andrade will give her enough to space to throw them anyway.
At the same time Joanna doesn't move her head as much as I do, so if she does get swarmed, she's going to absorb a lot more damage. Just judging by looks, I think Andrade hits harder than Karolina Kowalkiewicz, who was able to drop Joanna in her last fight, but Andrade is not as precise. If Andrade tightens up her striking and lands something clean it's going to be lights out.
Another thing to look at is the whole wrestling side of things. Andrade was comfortable standing with me, but if she does decide to go to the ground, she has strong takedowns. She's not amazing anywhere, but she's strong and commits to whatever she does, so wherever she feels her opponent feels uncomfortable, she'll try to put them there. I think Joanna has exceptional takedown defense (especially when she digs her fingers in her opponent's eyes in the clinch), so if Andrade is unsuccessful with taking her down but keeps trying, there's a good possibility she'll gas. I think Andrade's best chance of winning is to keep it standing and not waste energy on takedowns like Claudia Gadelha did in her and Joanna's last fight.
One last aspect I'll touch on is Andrade's gas tank. She's a hook machine and I was pretty surprised that she was able to keep that up all three rounds. This weekend she's fighting five rounds, but I don't think that'll be a problem for her. Joanna, however, cuts a lot of weight to make 115lbs and has never fought someone who pressures and throws body shots like Andrade. Andrade has a good chance of tiring Joanna out in this fight. Andrade typically lunges in with a right hook to the body and then loops the left hook over the top and this is a tactic that has served her well against taller fighters.
Looking back on my fight with Andrade, I wish I had thrown the stuff that worked for me earlier in the fight. I was able to read her pressure and answer it with elbows, punches, and knees. If Joanna opens up with that stuff, she can be successful at UFC 211, but I still think Andrade has a good chance of beating her. It’s gonna be an interesting fight, and I’m hoping that Andrade knocks Joanna the f*ck out so I look awesome! Then I’d be like Shevchenko and her like Nunes -- rematch earned for going the distance.
I'm happy I fought her though because it showed me a lot of stuff I can still improve on in the striking department. If I beef up a little bit, work more on sitting down on my punches when I want to do damage and not getting moved back, I know I can win a second fight against Andrade.
Prediction: Andrade via TKO in the 2nd