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With head coach absent, Jessica Andrade’s ‘grandma’ corners her at UFC 283

Photo via Pola

Jessica Andrade won’t have longtime head coach Gilliard Parana in her corner for the first time in a decade, but a member of Parana’s family will corner her when she faces Lauren Murphy at UFC 283.

Andrade joined the gym PRVT in late 2012 and quickly became the face of the team, scoring 18 victories and capturing the UFC strawweight title. Coach Parana can’t leave the United States for the bout Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, so he’s sending his mother, “Pola,” as a replacement.

“I felt something in my stomach,” Pola said of the invitation to be a cornerwoman at UFC 283. “I’m happy to be there because Gilliard won’t be there because he can’t come to Brazil now, and he said, ‘Mom, you’re cornering Jessica this time.’”

Andrade, who refers to “Pola” as “grandmother,” will also be cornered by PRVT coach Bruno Ribeiro and conditioning trainer Marcos Menezes.

Ribeiro, Andrade’s main cornerman at UFC 283, is a boxing and Muay Thai trainer and holds an amateur MMA record of 3-0; he has cornered Karol Rosa, Denise Gomes and Maria Oliveira alongside Parana in previous UFC fights.

Andrade told MMA Fighting that Ribeiro may Facetime Paraná during the fight, too.

Pola expected she would eventually corner Andrade given their longstanding relationship. But not having a visa to enter the U.S. prevented her from doing so.

“She moved in with me when she started fighting, so we have this connection,” she said.

Pola has no background in martial arts, outside of watching every PRVT fighter compete for over a decade. She tried training with her son when he first started as a capoeira teacher decades ago but jokes she “abandoned” class when Parana didn’t cut her any slack for being his mom.

Pola said she’ll definitely be nervous cageside, and she doesn’t plan on shouting any instructions during the flyweight fight at Jeunesse Arena, the same venue where Andrade captured the UFC strawweight title back in 2019.

“I’ll probably be praying during the fight,” she laughed. “I always get nervous when our girls fight, but Jessica is different. We have this connection. I always feel way too nervous when I watch her on TV.

“I was there in Rio when she won the belt, I was sitting on front row. It was close to my birthday, so it was a present for me. I always cry, I feel nervous when she fights. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but if I’m going there, maybe I’m her lucky charm [laughs].”

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