Right, so, things are changing a little bit here on Tap Ins & Tap Outs when it comes to the UFC picks.
Starting from this card, we’ll only be picking main events for Fight Night cards. But don’t worry, you’ll still get full card breakdowns for pay-per-view events, starting with UFC 285 next month.
You can still see our full pick history too, including the singular fight picks on the second tab at the bottom.
The UFC returns to the Apex centre in Las Vegas this weekend for a big women’s flyweight main event between Jessica Andrade and Erin Blanchfield.
Originally supposed to be Taila Santos vs Blanchfield, the Brazilian withdrew after her corner ran into visa issues allowing Andrade to step in just weeks after she won her first bout of the year.
Recent fight history
Andrade comes into this fight in some great form, with her last defeat coming in this division at the hands of the champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Since then she has gone 3-0, beating Cynthia Calvillo via knockout, Amanda Lemos via submission and then dominating Lauren Murphy to a lopsided decision win just last month at UFC 283 in Brazil.
Blanchfield on the other hand is undefeated in the UFC with an 11-1 professional record.
She has dominated everyone in her path thus far in the organisation, with comfortable decision wins over Sarah Alpar and Miranda Maverick before submission wins over JJ Aldrich and Molly McCann last time out.
Andrade is one of the most complete fighters in women’s MMA. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say she’s the third most complete, behind only the champions Amanda Nunes and Shevchenko.
An absolute powerhouse of a striker, Andrade also has got fantastic jiu-jitsu skills as well as some solid wrestling offense and defence. Despite her small size, she more than makes up for it with her power, which was most memorably on display when she slammed Rose Namajunas on her head to win the belt.
But she’ll be coming up against Blanchfield, who is an elite wrestler in her own right but also has some decent striking in her weaponry.
However there is no doubting what the game plan will be. She will use that striking to get close to Andrade, clinch up and start looking for a takedown to control the explosiveness but also to to dominate the position and be in her world.
This is a really tough fight to predict, especially considering it was only made on just one weeks’ notice.
Andrade has the striking advantage without a doubt, but she has to be coming forward throughout otherwise she will give Blanchfield the opportunity the take her down.
This is by far the most difficult fight that Blanchfield has ever been in, both stylistically and in terms of experience and quality.
Blanchfield is on an upwards trajectory without a doubt and if she can land takedowns early in the rounds, then it’s highly likely that she can keep the fight there and rack up control time.
However Andrade isn’t stupid and will know that too. The longer the fight goes the more it benefits Blanchfield, but only if she has success with her wrestling.
The experience of Andrade leads me to believe she will get this win, likely with an explosive knockout at some point in the earlier rounds but don’t be shocked if Blanchfield just overpowers her with wrestling for 25 minutes either.
PICK – Jessica Andrade via Knockout, Round 2