After their initial meeting ended with a vicious slam that saw Namajunas knocked unconscious, the former 115-pound champ showed off a well-rounded striking display while surviving a late surge from Andrade to ultimately win a split decision.
The scorecards read 29-28 two times for Namajunas with the third official giving Andrade a 29-28 after three rounds.
“It was fun,” Namajunas said afterwards. “I was just in the right state of mind. That’s everything.
Much like the opening round in their first fight, Namajunas was fast and effective on her feet as she picked Andrade apart with a technical kickboxing attack. While Andrade was showing a lot of head movement, she struggled to avoid Namajunas’ punches and faced just as much adversity when trying to connect with her power punches.
Namajunas was constantly in Andrade’s face, throwing out her lead jab and forcing the Brazilian to fight at her pace. Even in the moments when Andrade was able to draw Namajunas into a bit of a slugfest momentarily, she was taking the worst of the exchanges.
After failing to really do a lot of damage in the stand-up battle through the first two rounds, Andrade finally started to connect with some heavy leather in the final stanza and Namajunas showed the ill effects with blood streaming down her face and a mouse forming under her left eye.
With time running out, Andrade cracked Namajunas with another hard punch that seemingly wobbled the former champion momentarily. While she may have truly been hurt in that exchange, Namajunas recovered quickly and continued to fire straight punches at Andrade until the horn sounded.
The final score may have been a bit scary but it certainly appeared that Namajunas had done more than enough through those first two rounds to secure the victory.
Now back on track with the win at UFC 251, Namajunas will almost certainly move to the front of the line for a potential showdown with reigning strawweight champion Zhang Weili when she books her next fight.