Out former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade added yet another accomplishment to her MMA resume Saturday night at UFC Fight Island 6. The hard-hitting Brazilian became the first woman in UFC history to win fights in three different weight classes after downing former UFC flyweight championship contender Katlyn Chookagian via first round TKO in her flyweight debut.
The co-main event fight ended after Andrade staggered Chookagian with a heavy body blow late in the first round. Andrade rushed in to deliver another body shot amid a flurry that ended in a referee stoppage. It was a moment that reflected the rest of the fight, seeing Andrade counter Chookagian’s severe height and reach advantage by remaining close and tenacious.
The showing was stellar enough to garner Andrade a Performance of the Night bonus for the eighth time in her UFC career. “When you fight with happiness like I’m happy tonight, there’s only one result you can have,” Andrade said after the bout.
The win vaults Andrade into championship contention in the flyweight division, with a matchup looming against the winner of the forthcoming title bout between reigning flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and Jennifer Maia planned for November. Andrade expressed excitement at the chance to “stir” up the division.
“I think I can put up a fight against Valentina… It’s something that should have happened already in other organizations so I think I’m gonna make a difference,” Andrade said in her post-fight press conference. “Maybe with this fight, Jennifer Maia and Valentina, the UFC’s gonna want to have me have another fight. But I’m the person to do the movement in this division. It’s exactly what this division needs, it needs to be stirred around a little bit.”
That includes remaining ready should either Maia or Shevchenko pull out of their scheduled fight. “I’ll be there if needed,” Andrade said. Andrade also signaled that she hasn’t completely shut the door on competing in her previous divisions (bantamweight, strawweight) and the featherweight division despite cementing herself in the flyweight championship scene in less than one round’s work.
“In any other division, 135, 145, I’ll be ready,” Andrade said. “I haven’t felt this happy and haven’t had this vigor to fight and I just felt really good tonight,”