Amanda Lemos is ranked below some of the best strawweights on the planet going into her UFC Vegas 52 main event bout with Jessica Andrade, but is confident that a statement victory this Saturday in Las Vegas will help her leapfrog Zhang Weili, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Marina Rodriguez, Mackenzie Dern and any other 115-pounder to earn the next crack at the gold.
Speaking on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, Lemos said she predicts a stoppage over “Bate Estaca” to improve to 6-0 in the division.
On a roll since dropping her UFC debut in a short-notice bantamweight bout with Leslie Smith in 2017, the Para-native has beaten Angela Hill, Montserrat Ruiz, Livinha Souza, Mizuki Inoue and Miranda Granger over the last two and a half years. Andrade, on the other hands, cuts back to strawweight after knocking out Cynthia Calvillo at flyweight this past September.
“I always envision myself winning quickly, submission or knockout,” Lemos said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen Saturday, but don’t blink because it’s going to be fire. … I’m training to get my hands raised Saturday and have my chance to fight for the title.”
“Jessica is a great athlete, very experienced in the organization, has been fighting for several years, and has my respect,” she continued. “She was the champion of the division, but we have to fight each other. We both want to win, so I’m sure we’ll give our best in there and give a show to everyone watching.”
“I’ll do everything I can Saturday to earn my opportunity,” she said. “I think I’ll have my chance no matter how I win. I really like Rose and her style, her humbleness, and I cheer for her. I would really love to fight her — and I think she’ll win. Carla Esparza is very dangerous and likes to grapple, but I believe Rose retains the belt.”
First, Lemos has to get past a former champion in Andrade, a powerful woman that holds knockouts over a long list of notable names across three weight classes in the UFC. “Bate Estaca” has demolished the likes of Namajunas, Katlyn Chookagian, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Penne with her punches and slams, but has also been on the wrong side of stoppages in five of her seven octagon defeats.
“I’ve watched several fights of her and Jessica has many flaws, and we’re working on those flaws,” Lemos said. “I believe that, with my game, I can catch her. … I’m training a lot of jiu-jitsu and grappling, too. I like to fight on the feet, but I’m ready for whatever comes. Whatever Jessica has for me, I’ll be prepared to surprise her.”