The Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for UFC 237. The main event features a UFC women’s strawweight division title fight between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade.
UFC women’s strawweight champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas will make her second title defense when she steps into the cage opposite Jessica Andrade on Saturday. Namajunas won the title when she finished Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the first round via punches at UFC 217. Rose entered the fight as a big betting underdog considering Jedrzejczyk was undefeated at the time. Namajunas followed that victory up by beating Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision in their rematch at UFC 223. The second Joanna fight was in April of 2018 which was also the last time we saw her in the cage. In the twenty-six-year-old American born fighter’s eight career victories, five are via submission to go along with one by (T)KO.
After losing to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 211, Jessica Andrade has rattled off three straight. Her most recent victory came at UFC 228 where she destroyed Karolina Kowalkiewicz in vicious fashion in the first round. The other two wins were against Tecia Torres at UFC on FOX 28 and Claudia Gadelha at UFC Fight Night 117. Both of those victories were via unanimous decision. Prior to the Joanna loss the last time Andrade failed to get her hand raised was against Raquel Pennington at UFC 191 back in September of 2015. The twenty-seven-year-old Brazilian boasts thirteen finishes in nineteen career wins.
The co-main takes place in the UFC middleweight division where Jared Cannonier goes up against MMA great Anderson Silva. Jared Cannonier is 1-2 over his previous three fights. His most recent fight was a win over David Branch at UFC 230. Cannonier bounced back in a big way by finishing Branch via punches in round two. The prior two losses were to Dominick Reyes at UFC Fight Night 129 where he got stopped in the first round and Jan Blachowicz via unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 26. The thirty-five-year-old American has nine stoppages in eleven career victories.
Anderson Silva is 1-3 over his previous four. His most recent fight was against Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 where lost by unanimous decision. Prior to that loss, he decisioned Derek Brunson at UFC 208. “The Spider” is 1-5 with one no-contest dating back to July 2013. The forty-four- year old Brazilian has twenty-six victories via stoppage in thirty-four career wins.
Also, on the main card another MMA great, Jose Aldo takes on Alexander Volkanovski. One of the greatest featherweights of all time, Jose Aldo comes into his fight against Volkanovski riding a two-fight win streak. His most recent was at UFC Fight Night 134 where he pieced apart Moicano before finally finishing him in the second round. It was vintage Aldo. Prior to that, he stopped Jeremy Stephens in the first round at UFC on FOX 30. The thirty-two-year-old has eighteen finishes in twenty-eight career wins. He makes the walk for the thirty-third time on Saturday.
Alexander Volkanovski is 6-0 in the UFC. His last fight was against Chad Mendes at UFC 232 where he won via second round (T)KO. Aldo is a step-up in level of competition and a win here will be the thirty-year-olds biggest of his career. Fourteen of the Australian born fighter’s nineteen career wins ended inside the distance.
The five-fight main card also includes MMA veteran Thiago Alves taking on Laureano Staopoli who makes the walk for the second time for the promotion and Francisco Trinaldo vs. Diego Ferreira in what should be a fantastic scrap.
The early prelims will air on Fight Pass beginning at 5:15 PM (CST) with the prelims airing on ESPN starting at 7 PM (CST). The main card begins at 9:00 PM (CST) and can be purchased on ESPN+.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all of my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Rose Namajunas (8-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (19-6) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Andrade -135; Namajunas +115
Pick: Andrade by (T)KO. Rose needs to keep distance in order to win this fight. I don’t think she’ll be able to over five rounds.
Jared Cannonier (11-4) vs. Anderson Silva (34-9, 1 NC) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Cannonier -130; Silva +110
Pick: Silva by decision. History isn’t on Silva’s side, but in Brazil, you never know. Pass for me.
Jose Aldo (28-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (19-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Aldo -145; Volkanovski +125
Pick: Aldo by (T)KO. I can’t wait for this one. It’s Aldo or pass for me.
Thiago Alves (23-13) vs. Laureano Staropoli (8-1) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Alves -125; Staropoli +105
Pick: Staropoli by decision. Alves hasn’t looked the same since USDA came in. He should be 0-3 in his last three because he didn’t beat Max Griffin at UFC Fight Night 144 in my opinion.
Irene Aldana (9-4) vs. Bethe Correia (10-3-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Aldana -350; Correia +275
Pick: Aldana by decision.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (23-8) vs. Ryan Spann (15-5) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Spann -150; Nogueira +130
Pick: Nogueira by submission. Again, in Brazil, you never know.
Thiago Moises (11-3) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (17-6, 1 NC) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Moises -125; Holobaugh +105
Pick: Holobaugh by (T)KO. Kurt Holobaugh needs this win.
Warlley Alves (12-3) vs. Sergio Moraes (14-4-1) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Alves -145; Moraes +125
Pick: Alves by decision.
BJ Penn (34-18) vs. Clay Guida (16-13-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Guida -600; Penn +450
Pick: Guida by (T)KO. If you play parlays, Guida makes sense here.
Luana Carolina (5-1) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (8-2) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Carolina -170; Cachoeira +150
Pick: Carolina by decision. This fight was made for Carolina to good in.
Raoni Barcelos (13-1) vs. Carlos Huachin (10-3-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Barcelos -1000; Huachin +600
Pick: Barcelos by (T)KO.
Talita Bernardo (6-3) vs. Viviane Araujo (6-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Bernardo -285; Araujo +265
Pick: Bernardo by decision.
Enjoy the fights!