UFC 237 Preview & Predictions
By Alex Conway
The UFC takes it’s show to Brazil this weekend. The main event will feature strawweight champion Rose Namajunas against top contender and Brazilian foe Jessica Andrade. The co-main event features Anderson Silva against Jared Cannonier and then the feature bout will showcase a featherweight showdown between Jose Aldo and Alexander Volkanovski.
This is also the second UFC to air exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States, so if you’re interested in the business side of fighting, it’ll be interesting to see how an international event being sold to an American audience does with the first ever women’s strawweight title fight headlining a PPV.
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade (UFC strawweight title fight)
“Thug” Rose makes the unique champions trek into a challenger’s backyard, however it isn’t an entirely unique task either. In 2015 Ronda Rousey took on Bether Correira in Brazil and won via first round knockout.
Venue aside, this is an intriguing fight, especially since as of this writing the champ is the underdog. Think about that for a moment. Namajunas beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk, possibly the greatest strawweight of all-time, twice and is going up against Andrade, someone Jedrzejczyk beat convincingly in a 2017 title defense.
Despite all that, I’m not unconvinced that Andrade doesn’t deserve a little bit of the hype here, but quite frankly I don’t see how she gets it done. Namajunas has a good jab and should be able to fight at distance on the feet, negating the power of Andrade by not allowing her to get close to her.
Where I have some doubt about Namajunas winning is if the fight hits the mat and she gets stuck under Andrade. The Brazilian has a punishing top game and is just as powerful a puncher on the ground as she is on the feet. Her ground and pound against Joanne Calderwood forced Calderwood into some bad spots that eventually led to a submission victory.
Namajunas has gotten really good at controlling where the fight takes place and I also suspect she’ll have a cardio advantage over Andrade.
I predict that there will be moments early in the fight where Andrade hits Namajunas with some big shots, gets her to the ground, and gives us some concern that we could be seeing a new champ at night’s end.
But I also believe in Namajunas’ toughness and durability and ability to persevere and eventually outwork and outpace the challenger and retain her title.
Jared Cannonier vs. Anderson Silva
What is the UFC doing with Anderson Silva? What is Anderson Silva doing with Anderson Silva?
I’m not in the camp that thinks Silva should retire. He’s still plenty skilled to put on some entertaining old-timer fights. A fight with Vitor Belfort should have been made at some point in the last 5 years. Rashad Evans was looking for a middleweight fight like this in the twilight of his career.
Instead Silva in his last four fights has fought current interim middlweight champ Israel Adesanya, Derek Brunson, current heavyweight champ and recent champ-champ Daniel Cormier and former middleweight champ Michael Bisping (at arguably his peak).
I don’t mean to be disrespectful to Cannonier, but what exactly does Silva get from this?
What does the UFC get from it? If Cannonier wins he gets the distinction of beating an over-the-hill 44-year old Silva, which will sound cool a long time from now when we forget what condition this version of Silva was in when he beat him.
If Silva wins does he jump up the rankings? Does he get a title shot? Does he believe Conor McGregor will add him to his list of fake Twitter callouts?
No, none of those things will happen. At best, Silva might get a win in front of his countrymen.
But in terms of storyline it just kind of…is what it is.
Anyway, I think Cannonier plays it safe, takes Silva down, and wins with a conservative top game.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Remember when Aldo probably should have gotten an immediate rematch with Conor McGregor for the featherweight title after losing to him in 2015 but McGregor and the UFC had other plans?
It feels like the UFC hasn’t quite been sure what to do with Aldo ever since. They know he is good, but I don’t think they quite understand how much he has left.
This seems like they want to use Aldo to build up Volkanovski but I’m not sure the Australian gets it done here.
Aldo still has incredible takedown defense and despite Volkanovski having pretty decent punching power, I don’t think his striking abilities are in the same galaxy as Aldo’s.
I like Volkanovski a lot, and the way each mans’ career is moving it feels like two ships passing in the night and Volkanovski is headed to the promised land, a title shot with Holloway.
But man, a fight with Aldo in Brazil is certainly a litmus test. I don’t think he gets it done.
I predict Aldo will keep the fight on the feet, play solid defense, and work his jab enough to keep Volkanovski on the outside in striking exchanges.
I don’t think Aldo has enough to put Volkanovski away, but I predict he wins a close, possibly even controversial decision over the surging title contender.