Jessica Andrade stands in at just 5-foot-2, but what the Brazilian lacks in stature, she more than makes up for in aggressiveness.
Raquel Pennington found this out on Saturday night at UFC 171. In an early contender for Fight of the NIght, Andrade and Pennington went toe-to-toe in Dallas before going to a split decision. Pennington took two out of three 29-28 scores to claim a split-decision victory.
After an early feeling-out period in the opening minute of the first round, Andrade took Pennington to the mat with a judo throw and got the best of the round from there. The 22-year old's relative lack of polish showed as she nearly walked into an armbar, but otherwise, she got the best of the round.
Andrade goaded Pennington into a slugfest in round two. While the Colorado Springs native attempted simple backpedal out of danger, Andrade used a low kick to set up a big flurry of fists. Late in the round, Pennington caught Andrade in a tight standing guillotine, but Andrade responded by getting out of the choke, and going for a standing guillotine of her own as the round ended.
Pennington picked up the pace in round three and came on strong at the end, going for broke and nearly getting a finish in the final minute, but Andrade held on until the end.
Andrade improved to 11-3 in her career and has won two straight; Pennington dropped to 4-4 with her third loss in her past four fights.