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Jessica Andrade is ready to become the first female fighter to compete in three Ultimate Fighting Championship weight classes on Saturday, and she is willing to move around the divisions depending on her options.
Gilliard Parana, the head coach of PRVT Girls, spoke with Sherdog about Andrade’s upcoming fight against the #1 ranked flyweight contender Katlyn Chookagian this weekend.
“Last time in Abu Dhabi [at UFC 251], Jessica faced the hardest experience of her life to reach the limit of strawweight division due to a series of factors like jet lag, local temperature and also the fact that Jessica’s body is getting old,” Parana told Sherdog. “Actually, she is only 29, but her body already faced 28 battles [so] of course it’s getting harder to lose weight.”
Parana believes that moving the whole PRVT team to Las Vegas in 2021 will be a turning point to the success of Andrade’s future plan.
Speaking highly of his top fighter, Parana said, “She is a specimen. Strawweight title and all the wins she got was without taking any supplements, diets or anything. Imagine when she gets all the support of UFC [Performance Institute] in Vegas. I can guarantee that Jessica will be the only girl accepting to fight in three divisions [of strawweight, flyweight and bantamweight].”
One of the best students of Diovani Aparicio, creator of Brazilian Impacto Team – arguably one of the bigger rivals of Chute Boxe in Curitiba, Brazil -- Parana took 18 Vale Tudo fights between 2003 and 2014. The PRVT head coach won 12, with five knockouts and seven submission to his credit, and he wanted to pass along his hard-charging style to his students.
“Everybody in my generation in Parana had a big influence of Wanderlei Silva, so our main goal was always attack,” Parana admitted. “Of course, Jessica suffered a great influence of my aggressive style too, but the sport evolved and she is getting more tactical and adding more tools to her game each fight. And you will see that against Chookagian. We are aware that she has seven inches reach advantage over Andrade, twice what Namajunas had, but Jessica has a game plan to neutralize that.”
Parana believes that if Jessica gets the win Saturday, UFC will give her the title shot against the dominant force of Valentina Shevchenko.
“UFC is having a hard time to find opponents to face Valentina, Jessica is the opposite, she is eager to fight her. Of course, a challenge between a former strawweight champion and Valentina would sell a lot.”
Andrade’s master also talked about possible future strawweight battles between two women who already defeated his student, claiming, “I believe Namajunas is totally [the betting] favorite and, if she wins [against Weili Zhang in a future title fight], I truly hope [the] UFC makes a trilogy in five rounds with Jessica for the belt. There is no way Namajunas beats Jessica in a five-round fight.”
Parana not only guaranteed a five-round win against Namajunas, but also lauded a rematch down the line against 115-pound queen Zhang.
“Fight is fight, anything can happen, but I see Jessica superior to [Zhang] everywhere: standing up, in the cage clinch game and also on the ground. Anyone who sees the video can see that Zhang used elbows [to the back of Andrade’s head]. I believe those were not intentional but they were clearly illegal blows. But we don’t want to give any excuses we just would like to see that fight happen again.”
Parana was very excited about moving his team’s headquarters to Las Vegas next month.
“Vegas is the mecca of world MMA. We are moving with 10 professional fighters of the team in 2021. PRVT Girls is already the biggest female MMA team in the world, where all the girls train together, and I’ll be glad to welcome more American girls to our family," the coach concluded.
UFC Fight Night 180 takes place on Oct. 17 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where it will be headlined by a featherweight thriller between Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung. The Andrade-Chookagian match has been elevated to the co-main event after the Ciryl Gane vs. Ante Delija bout was cancelled due to contract issues.