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Jessica Andrade defends teammate Priscila Cachoeira after Shevchenko loss, says ‘Pedrita’ will silence critics

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Jessica Andrade returns to the Octagon against Tecia Torres at UFC Orlando.
Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Jessica Andrade is one of the bets female strawweights in the world, but it was a long road until she got there. Another Parana Vale Tudo fighter has a chance to do the same now.

Andrade’s PRVT teammate Priscila Cachoeira was beat up by Valentina Shevchenko in her Octagon debut earlier this month at UFC Belem, and “Bate-Estaca” predicts that “Pedrita” will eventually climb her way to the top.

Andrade, who meets Tecia Torres in the co-main event of UFC Orlando on Feb. 24, discussed her friend’s recent loss at UFC Belem in an interview with MMA Fighting. Cachoeira was dominated and finished by Shevchenko in Brazil, and recently went under the knife to fix a knee injured sustained seconds into the bout.

”I was really upset that Priscila lost,” Andrade said. “It was a very tough fight for her to win, but I was sad with the way she lost. And she still got injured early in the fight, so she couldn’t show her training, her takedown defense and ground game. We knew what Valentina could do, and Priscila couldn’t do what she trained.”

Their head coach Gilliard Parana was criticized for not throwing in the towel to save her fighter from more unnecessary punishment. The UFC was also attacked for booking the match-up, and referee Mario Yamasaki for not stopping it earlier.

”It was sad to hear all the comments after the fight, that it was a mismatch, that Mario should have stopped it earlier,” Andrade said. “There was a moment where Mario could have stopped it, but I’m a fighter too and I wouldn’t like him to stop it. Every time he said something Priscila showed she was still in the fight. Valentina landed some clean elbows to her face and didn’t knock her out.”

Maybe Andrade would want a referee to give her a chance like Yamasaki did to Cachoeira, but she agrees that it became hard to watch.

”I felt bad watching her in that situation and not being able to do anything, but I know how it is to debut in the UFC and sometimes not remembering how to do something,” she said. “She got injured so early in the fight that it was hard to do anything. She told me ‘sister, I couldn’t get back up because my knee wouldn’t respond and started to hurt bad, so I tried to hold Valentina and hope that the referee would stand us back up.”’

Andrade is confident that “Pedrita””get better and come back to put on a show and show the world who she really is,” and her confidence comes from knowing how it feels like to face such a high-level opponent in your UFC debut and get finished.

“Bate-Estaca” signed with the UFC in 2013 after racking up a 9-2 record in Brazil and Russia, and fought Liz Carmouche in a bantamweight contest. Carmouche was coming off a fight with MMA superstar Ronda Rousey, and was a huge favorite to win at UFC on FOX 8.

”I saw my story all over again with her,” Andrade said of Cachoeira. “It was my chance to sign with the UFC, and I went there to do my best. I was fighting one of the best in the division, who had just fought for the belt and almost submitted Ronda, like Valentina did to Amanda (Nunes) — and I think she beat Amanda. And no one talks about that Liz Carmouche fight anymore.

”I believe that Priscila will be back, put on great fights, and people will swallow everything they said,” she added. “They will say ‘well, it was her debut and she got injured.’ She will still do a great job in the UFC.”