Jéssica Andrade Defeats Raquel Pennington At UFC 171 In DallasBrazilian rising star Jéssica “Bate Estaca” Andrade picked up her second Octagon victory tonight at UFC 171: “Hendricks vs Lawler” in Dallas, Texas. The 22-year-old Andrade narrowly edged out TUF 18 semi-finalist Raquel “Rocky” Pennington in an action-packed three-round war at 135 pounds.

Andrade pressed the action with strikes and takedowns throughout the first two rounds, but Pennington came on strong late in the middle stanza and nearly finished the fight with a guillotine choke. Following a razor-thin third round, Andrade emerged victorious with a close win on the scorecards.


Andrade (11-3-0) and Pennington (4-4-0) traded punches right away tonight and Andrade looked to set up a takedown against the cage. Pennington countered with a standing guillotine choke, but Andrade punched her way free and she repeatedly threw Pennington down to the mat. Andrade postured up with punches and Pennington countered with an armbar attempt. Andrade escaped into side control and she tried for a guillotine of her own in the final minute.

Pennington countered Andrade’s punches with knees in the clinch early in round two. Andrade scored a brief takedown and she mixed up her strikes well with leg kicks and flurries of punches. Pennington continued to find success with knees in close, but Andrade swarmed on her with punches against the cage. Andrade continued to get the better of the exchanges until late in the round when Pennington trapped her in a tight standing guillotine. Andrade stayed calm and pulled her head free before the bell.

With the fight potentially even on the scorecards, it was Andrade who came out aggressively in round three and she backed Pennington up with lunging punches. Pennington answered with Thai clinch knees and Andrade punched her way free. Both women landed punches in a lengthy exchange and Andrade continued to outstrike the American. Pennington dragged Andrade to the mat and slammed her down seconds later. Andrade stood and Pennington finished the round strong with punches.

One judge scored the close fight 29-28 for Pennington, while the remaining two both saw it 29-28 in favour of Andrade, who walked away with a Split Decision win in a highly competitive bout. The Brazilian has won four of her past five fights.

Winner: Jéssica Andrade by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) after three rounds. She improves to 11-3-0.



(Photo Credit: UFC)

  1. Magnificent fight – all credit to both women. Andrade was extremely impressive and is getting better every single fight – and she’s still only 22! Pennington also looked better than I’ve ever seen her. It is quite remarkable that her record stands now at 4-4. However, I’m confident that the UFC will see her tremendous potential and keep her. This was, after all, #9 beating #13 in a close fight. Pennington will be back.

  2. Andrade might be the best 125 fighter in the world and might sneak into the top 5 at 135. She is a pit bull. She gets better each fight. Pennington has so much talent, but just gets beat by better fighters. She just doesn’t let go enough.

  3. Hey CJ – I agree totally – Andrade would be phenomenal at 125lb. I can’t imagine how great Honchak-Andrade or Leslie Smith-Andrade would be.

    I have to say though, what impressed me so much was that Pennington finally let her hands go. Her stance was noticeably different this fight, she stood like a cobra ready to strike. She just happened to be in there with a super aggressive opponent. It was very close, but I did think Pennington won that fight. I can’t wait to see either of them again.

  4. Andrade has been facing and defeating women a lot bigger than she.

    She likely could make 115 lbs. I suppose she walks around at the same weight as Gadelha. And I think she’s only 5’2″.

    If she can, man, she would be in position to challenge the champion. That would be interesting to see…

  5. Hi Andy,

    So do you feel that Pennington finally made core changes to her fighting style, or do you think this is a band-aid kind of change? Pennington is really durable, but she’s always seemed interested in figuring her opponent out before opening up. That’s a core principle that would need to change. If she goes back to wait-and-see, shes might have a tough time with the judges (at the least) going forward.

  6. Hi Henry,

    Yes you’re right – that’s the critical question. I’m partial to Pennington, so I’d like to think that her style and attitude changed leading up to this fight. But it’s also true that Andrade is a hyper aggressive opponent and Raquel couldn’t have laid back even if she’d have preferred to. There are some fighters who, despite huge talent, just can’t “let go” with their punches. Probably the most notable was Pedro Rizzo. He was generally considered the best striker in MMA in ’98-’99, knocking out Severn, Abbott, and a very young Barnett. But in the most important fights, Pedro just couldn’t open up, and it cost him the title. I hope and believe Pennington is different and will grow into her immense talent. Put another way – I wouldn’t want to be the next one to fight her. 🙂