Saturday night was historic for breaking news out of the UFC. At a thrilling UFC 199, Michael Bisping shocked the world to wrest the UFC middleweight title from Luke Rockhold. The promotion also officially announced the date for Conor McGregor's rematch with Nate Diaz, as well as the fighting return of WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. Among this earth-shattering MMA news, a number of fantastic fights and dominating performances were overshadowed.
Jessica Andrade, who is openly gay, is one fighter who saw the best night of her fighting career eclipsed by the huge storylines that would form later on in the night. However, during her contest with Jessica Penne, the MMA world was transfixed on how dynamic, and brutal, the 24-year-old Brazilian looked inside the cage.
At UFC 199, Andrade (5-3 in the UFC) fought for the first time at 115 pounds in the strawweight division. Her UFC career up to this fight had been fought entirely in the women's bantamweight division (135 pounds). Andrade at bantamweight saw mixed results, but in them were flashes of brilliance. Her last contest was a loss to the much improved, and much larger, Raquel Pennington (who is also openly gay).
Andrade's opponent at UFC 199 was Penne, a former Invicta FC champion whose last fight was a loss for the UFC women's strawweight championship.
Andrade tormented Penne for the entire duration of the fight. From the opening bell the 5-foot-2 Andrade, whose nickname "Bate Estaca" roughly translates to "Pile Driver," harried Penne with thunderous punching combinations. Between flurries of five to six punches to the body and head, Andrade coldly stalked Penne around the octagon. Andrade capped off a ruthless first round by dropping Penne just as the bell sounded, leaving her opponent bruised, bloodied and lucky to still be in the fight.
When the second round began, Penne seemed energized by the visit with her corner. But Penne's brisk head movement and feints began to disappear as soon as Andrade lit her up with yet another crushing combo. Andrade continued to batter Penne in this fashion until referee, Jason Herzog, had seen enough. The fight was waved off at the 2:56 mark in the second round, but it could have been stopped sooner.
Andrade entered UFC 199 unranked in the UFC's women's strawweight division (Penne is currently ranked 6th). Given her tenure and collection of impressive wins in the bantamweight division, it is likely that Andrade will shoot up the rankings. She may even find herself in the Top 10. Now competing versus women her own size, Andrade is primed to become one of the UFC's top competitors at 115 pounds.