The only title fight on the card at UFC 237 will also be the headline event, when Women’s Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas defends her belt against Jessica Andrade. The fight will take place in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, May 12. The other fights on the main card, while not title bouts, look set to be some very tight contests.
Namajunas is a solid striker and very strong grappler whose height and reach superiority is a massive asset here. She won the title in 2017 at UFC 217 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a brutal first round victory where her powerful striking earnt her a victory by TKO. She defended the title in a rematch with Jedrzejczyk in April 2018 at UFC 223, however this time the bout went the distance and Namajunas won by unanimous decision.
Andrade, despite being the challenger, is widely regarded as the favourite in this bout. She’s giving away 3 inches in height and arm reach and just over 4 inches in leg reach. She’s a brutal striker, who is not just powerful but also accurate. After failing to defeat Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 211 for the title, she has since had back-to-back unanimous decision victories before picking up “Performance of the Night” when she beat Karolina Kowalkiewicz with a powerful punch halfway through the opening round, earning her the number 1 contender spot.
Prediction: A stark contrast in styles is sure to make this an intriguing contest. Andrade is undoubtedly the better striker, but she has such a large reach disadvantage. However, Andrade is also a very good defender of grapples, which means both fighters may have to alter their styles. Andrade is regarded as the better all-rounder and this is a big reason as to why she is being favoured to take the title. Andrade to win by submission in the final round.
The experienced Alves has had 28 wins and 13 losses and comes into this fight off the back of a split decision victory over Max Griffin in February, after he had lost both of his bouts in 2018. He’s the superior grappler in this bout and is a very slight favourite to win.
Staropoli has won 8 of his 9 bouts to date and will have the slightest advantage in height and arm reach, however his leg reach is 2.5 inches greater than Alves. He will be spending much of this bout defending grapples and takedowns, but could also take advantage of the close combat, relying on his powerful striking. Very little separates these two men, making for a great battle.
Prediction: This match-up will be very hard to pick. Alves has a lot more experience and appears to be the more versatile fighter which could be enough to see him win. Alves to win on decision.
Jose Aldo, regarded a few years ago by one commentator as the greatest featherweight in MMA history, will be the narrow favourite in this very exciting bout. Aldo is a brilliant defender of strikes and grapples, and right at home throwing strikes in close combat. After losing the Featherweight title in late 2017, he has notched up back-to-back TKO wins by punches.
Australian Alexander Volkanoski has won 19 of his 20 bouts, winning all of his last 16 MMA fights. He’s had 6 fights in the UFC and has won them all. His last bout at UFC 232 saw him beat Chad Mendes via TKO after his punches got him the win late in the second round, which earnt him “Fight of the Night” honours.
Prediction: Aldo’s great defence against Volkanovski’s great offence. Aldo is the slight favourite, however the Aussie has proven to be very hard to beat. His striking could be too much for Aldo. Volkanovski to win by TKO (punches) in the 3rd Round.
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