A new strawweight title contender may have been crowned at UFC 288 after Yan Xiaonan flattened Jessica Andrade with a stunning first-round knockout.
It was a jaw-dropping performance from Yan as she looked sharper on the feet throughout the fight with pinpoint accuracy and great timing on her combinations. When Andrade finally decided to get more aggressive as she just rushed forward, Yan made her pay with a massive right hand that dropped the Brazilian to the canvas.
Yan followed up with a few more hammerfists until the referee saw enough to step in and stop the fight to prevent Andrade from taking anymore damage. The end came at 2:20 in the opening round.
“I am so happy,” Yan said afterwards. “This is the happiest moment since I got in the UFC. This is what we practiced for the fight camp. This is what they told me [to do].”
The strawweights were standing and trading throughout the first round with Yan landing the crisper shots as she measured and then launched several combinations that tagged Andrade flush. Andrade was more than willing to step into the fire fight but she just kept eating shots from Yan, who was much more disciplined with her game plan.
When Andrade finally threw caution to the wind by marching forward in the same way that has doomed many past opponents, Yan was ready for the challenge as she just stepped backwards and unleashed the right hook that ended the fight.
It was a truly impressive showing from Yan, who has now won her past two fights in a row and that potentially sets her up for a showdown with reigning UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili.
“I think both of us can represent the girls from China at the highest level of our sport,” Yan said about Zhang. “Dana [White], let’s make it happen.”