Jessica Andrade lost her strawweight title over the weekend when she was stopped in just 42 seconds by Weili Zhang, who became the first Chinese champion in UFC history. According to Andrade’s head coach Gilliard Parana, his fighter’s ill-fated decision to swing wildly at her opponent was an attempt to prove a point after people labeled her title win over Rose Namajunas a fluke.
Andrade’s choice to defend her belt in her challenger’s home country was a bold one and a gamble that didn’t pay off but according to Parana, his fighter didn’t follow the original game plan to start the fight off with jabs and leg kicks and instead went head hunting.
Parana spoke with spoke to MMAFighting.com following Andrade’s loss and said his fighter wanted to show off her power after the pint-sized Brazilian copped a lot of social media flack for what they perceived to be a lucky title win against “Thug Rose” back in May at UFC 237:
“She was in this euphoria of trying to knock that girl out,” Parana said. “A lot of people saying she got lucky against Rose (Namajunas) and blah blah blah, and I think that messed with her head a little bit and she didn’t follow the gameplan. That has worked many times before and could work against Weili Zhang as well, but standing and trading is like a lottery, one hand can land and you go down.”
“It happens,” he added. “We believe a lot in Jessica’s chin and thought that wouldn’t happen, but we saw that even her can go down with a good hand that lands.”
After Zhang connected initially with a right punch which stunned Andrade, there were a number of controversial shots in the clinch which Parana believes could have had an impact on his fighter:
“I just got home so I haven’t watched the fight again yet,” Parana said, “But many people texted me right after saying that three or four elbows hit the back of her head. She ate that first punch that rocked her and she decided to grab (Zhang) to rest, but then she hit those elbows to the back of the head.
“If you train you know that two or three strikes to the back of the head get you really hurt. I’m not saying that she wouldn’t have lost if not for those elbows, but we don’t know what would have happened.”
Andrade said after the fight she would like a rematch with Zhang but her coach believes a more ideal next fight would be against Nina Ansaroff, who recently had her four-fight winning streak snapped by Tatiana Suarez back in June.
“Nina would be a good option if she wants to fight in December,” Parana said. “I don’t know if Nina Ansaroff will continue fighting, but I think she’s the only one in the top 10 that doesn’t have a fight booked, so that’s an idea.”
“Jessica will be back,” he continued. “This is a sport, we have to understand that. Jessica is still one of the best in the division, if not the best, when she’s focused. Having the title is tough, you lose focus, you have that pressure and have to prove yourself all the time.”