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Jessica Andrade ‘really, really’ wants Weili Zhang next with knockout win over Erin Blanchfield: ‘She’s still stuck in my throat’

MMA: UFC 283 - Murphy vs Andrade
Jessica Andrade
Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Jessica Andrade entered the cage at UFC 283 hoping that a win over flyweight Lauren Murphy would set up a rematch with strawweight champion Weili Zhang. The UFC has yet to announce plans for Zhang, so “Bate Estaca” is staying busy.

The former UFC titleholder agreed to face Erin Blanchfield on a week’s notice in the main event of UFC Vegas 69 this Saturday, stepping in for Taila Santos, and maintains the same goal in mind: A win at the UFC APEX, though in a different weight class, should get her the next shot at 115 pounds.

“I’ll keep asking for this opportunity to fight for the belt,” Andrade said on this week’s episode of Trocação Franca podcast. “Wins are wins regardless of which division you’re at. Four wins in a row can give me this opportunity. I’ll keep asking.”

Andrade, who lost her title to Zhang via first-round knockout in 2019, won three in a row since challenging Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight gold in 2021, dismantling Cynthia Calvillo, Amanda Lemos and Murphy.

“Since [Zhang] doesn’t have an opponent yet, I think that’s a great opportunity for me to have this rematch,” she said. “I wasn’t able to show anything in my fight against her. She’s still stuck in my throat. What matters now is winning this fight, which won’t be easy. But if I come out with the win, I’ll definitely ask for it.

“I wants this chance so bad. I really, really want it. It all depends on this victory now. I’ll keep asking for her for the rest of my life. ‘Dana, put me in! Put me in! I’m ready!”

As Andrade put in, having plans mean nothing if she doesn’t get past by Blanchfield on Saturday. The 23-year-old is 4-0 under the UFC banner with wins over Sarah Alpar, Miranda Maverick, JJ Aldrich and Molly McCann, and could very well be one win away from the gold if she’s impressive against a veteran like “Bate Estaca”.

“She’s a tough opponent,” Andrade said. “She’s ranked No. 10, but she’s very tough. Nobody wanted to fight her on short notice. I’m ready for anything. I’m getting more complete every time I fight and feeling more comfortable on the feet.”

“I think my striking will be the main advantage for this fight against her,” she continued. “Everything changes after the first punch and the first kick. I know she’s good in the wrestling area, she’s great on top using her jiu-jitsu, she has good submissions, so the gameplan is to avoid her takedowns and grappling. I have great advantage with my ground and pound is I stay on top, too.”

Andrade has shown finishing skills during her entire UFC career, both with knockout power and vicious submissions, and sees the striking department as the best weapon to get the job done at the UFC APEX.

“I really want the knockout,” Andrade said. “The knockout or the submission. I never want to leave it to the judges. Even though I’m still recovering from the strikes landed on Lauren Murphy, I think I’m still evolving with my striking, so I expect a knockout. It won’t be in the first round or the second, I think I might knock her out between the third and the fourth. If nothing works, jiu-jitsu always saves in the end.”

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