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Video call, home gym, and coronavirus fear: Jessica Andrade’s unique camp for UFC 249

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Jessica Andrade is working with PRVT teammate Bruna Brasil to prepare for Rose Namajunas.
Photo via Jessica Andrade

With one confirmed death due to the coronavirus in Niteroi, Brazil, the city’s mayor has ordered gyms, malls, and parks to close and even blocked access to beaches. Jessica Andrade, a former UFC strawweight champion who lives in the city, has been forced to adapt.

“Bate Estaca” is currently scheduled to rematch Rose Namajunas at UFC 249, a pay-per-view that’s expected to take place on April 18, but has no location currently set after its original venue Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., was ruled out as an option.

Andrade used to drive less than five miles to get from her house to Parana Vale Tudo gym. After the quarantine measures were taken by the city, she asked a teammate to move in with her and help prepare for the upcoming bout.

“I’m staying home and training the way I can,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “I brought Bruna Brasil, who has a fighting style and body type similar to Rose’s, to train with me here. We’re quarantined at home, following the Ministry of Health’s orders, and keep training hard.

“My weight is going down well, so I don’t see much difference. I keep training hard, but at home. I’m glad I was able to build this structure here at home with mats, bags, mitts, and weights to lift.”

Andrade’s conditioning coach calls her every morning to advise her on what to train that day. The strategy is already set, Andrade said, and coach Gilliard Parana makes sure to watch every training session to pay close attention to what needs to be worked on while her longtime manager Tiago Okamura monitors the situation.

“I video call him during every training and he guides me, says what I have to do and where I need to get better at,” Andrade said. “When I can’t video call him, I just film the training session and send it to him and he says if it’s all good. No one leaves home. We train at home with guidance over the phone.”

“It’s been okay since she’s very obedient and works really hard,” Parana told MMA Fighting. “Bruna Brasil has a body type and fighting style very similar to Rose’s, so we’ll do the way we can until everything calms down. It’s not the ideal way to prepare for a fight, of course, but we need to take all the precautions. We’re doing it the best way possible.”

With a location yet to be determined, UFC president Dana White joked on social media about taking the event to the moon.

Andrade approves of the idea.

“If they pay my ticket, I’ll go there,” she said with a laugh. “I’d get there a little lighter, but it’s all good.”

“I’m ready for everything,” she continued. “If the fight is in Brooklyn, Las Vegas or any other place that is safe, I’ll fight. I’ve fought in some many different places in the world, even China, so location doesn’t affect much. It’s about taking care of yourself and staying safe. I’m training hard and focused. I’m sure everything will be alright with time, the number of cases will go down, this virus will go away, and then we’ll find out where we’re fighting. God willing, this fight will happen somewhere.

“We are worried because we have families, elders at home, father and mother who live away from us, so our biggest concern is about the human being. Financially speaking, I’m fine. Even if the fight doesn’t happen I can get along just fine until my next fight. We’re praying that everyone stays safe and this virus goes away. That’s what really affects us. You see people dying in Italy, and their families can’t even see them, you don’t know where to bury them.”