Brazilian star Jessica Andrade won the strawweight title fight to end Rose Namajunas' championship reign.
The Queen is dead.
Long live the Queen.
We have a new champion: Jessica Andrade became the UFC strawweight champion with a knockout victory over Rose Namajunas on Saturday night at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The outcome worked out perfectly for the UFC.
Andrade, a Brazilian, won the title in front of the homecountry crowd starving for a victory. Namajunas was in control of the fight, appearing to even bait Andrade at times. But life in the cage can change on the drop of a dime, and Andrade dropped Namajunas on her head and then ended her championship reign with a knockout punch to the head.
Andrade is a force and earned the title of champion. She lost her first title fight two years ago in May 2017 against then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but won three straight fights for the rights for another shot at the title—and capitalized on that opportunity.
Much to the dismay of color commentator/UFC heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, a telling moment happened after the fight when Namajunas mentioned in her post-fight interview that she felt as though a huge weight was now off her shoulders. But it is always difficult to put too much stock into the words of a fighter who just lost a fight, and, in this case, the biggest fight of Namajunas’ career.
A rematch between new champ Andrade and Namajunas, with the roles reversed and on American soil, will be appointment-viewing.
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade—women’s strawweight title fight—12:32 a.m. ET
Namajunas was a cerebral assassin in the opening round, showcasing her speed and obliterating Andrade, who is wearing bruises all over her face.
Andrade is still alive in this fight, but just barely. Will she be able to make adjustment in round two?
12:21 a.m. ET
Rose Namajunas enters her own title fight as an underdog to Jessica Andrade.
“Thug Rose” is fighting against a Brazilian star in Brazil, and Jessica Andrade represents one of the toughest challenges she’s ever encountered in the cage.
All the fighters from Brazil have come up short-handed tonight, though the night will be remembered for a much different narrative if Andrade finishes the card with a title win.
This is Namajunas’ first title defense outside the United States, and she couldn’t have picked many places more difficult—or opponents more dangerous—than Brazil and Andrade.
Anderson Silva vs. Jared Cannonier—middleweight fight—12:12 a.m. ET
A vicious inside-leg kick from Cannonier has ended the fight.
Silva appears to be in excruciating pain, and his night also ends in disappointment. Give credit to Cannonier, who claims the fight by TKO. The crowd is peppering Cannonier with boos, which is clearly rattling him, but the win redefines Cannonier and adds a major victory to his resume.
Despite the pain, Silva still took time to speak to the crowd after the fight. That kick could have blown out Silva’s knee, but it was a clean kick that landed in the right spot.
Silva has been injured before, but most mortals have a harder time rehabbing from injury at the age of 44. But tonight belongs to Cannonier, who can celebrate a massive win, even if did not happen the way he may have envisioned.
11:58 p.m. ET
There is also a fight starting between Anderson Silva and Jared Cannonier.
This would be a career-defining win for the journeyman Cannonier, but what happens if Silva’s hand is raised? The 44-year-old is supposed to be nearing the end of his career, but he still looks fantastic.
Also: Every crowd favorite so far has lost. Look for Silva to change that.
And for those waiting, Conor McGregor has finally tweeted during UFC 237.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski—featherweight fight—11:49 p.m. ET
Volkanovski fought a phenomenal fight. He delivered nonstop action, wore Aldo down and controlled the vast majority of the fight. Aldo never built any momentum, and the numbers are clearly in favor of Volkanovski.
The judges make it official: Volkanovski by unanimous decision.
Clearly, it is a tough night to be a Brazilian fighter in the UFC. But Volkanovski deserved that win and continues his undefeated run in UFC. He just made his request to be the new No. 1 contender, and a future fight between Volkanovski and Max Holloway now looms.
We now move onto the co-main events, beginning with the legendary Anderson Silva looking to rewrite his UFC future at the age of 44.
11:38 p.m. ET
Volkanovski gets warned for an (errant) poke in the eye, and is now pressuring Aldo into the cage. He is kneeing Aldo into submission, significantly weakening his lower half. Aldo remains dangerous as we enter the final five minutes of the fight, but right now, this is Volkanovski’s fight to lose.
11:33 p.m. ET
Very interesting opening round. Volkanovski delivered more offense than Aldo, and Aldo’s body shots seemed only to wake up Volkanovski.
Volkanovski could not get Aldo to fall for his fakes, but he is in the second round—which he promised would serve to his benefit against Aldo.
Aldo needs to open the second round with some power and slow down Volkanovski, which he was not able to do in the first five minutes.
11:22 p.m. ET
A massive fight is up next, as we finally see Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski take his shot at Jose Aldo. If Volkanovski wants a shot at featherweight champion Max Holloway, then winning this fight is imperative.
For Aldo, he needs to end this fight quickly. The longer the fight, the more it favors Volkanovski. An Aldo win creates confusion, as he is unlikely to receive another rematch with Holloway—but a victory by Volkanovski provides a far more linear path for the featherweight division.
Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli—welterweight fight—11:15 p.m. ET
Alves worked the entire fight to wear down Staropoli. He came close, but Staropoli was fantastic—and managed to avoid that lethal left hook from Alves. The fight went the distance, and the judges scored the contest (much to the dismay of the crowd) all in favor of Staropoli.
By far, this victory marks the biggest win of Staropoli’s career. His unremitting fight style was more than Alves could handle, and it will be very interesting to see which fight UFC gives next to Staropoli.
10:59 p.m. ET
Staropoli has the numbers advantage after the first round, but Alves is patiently awaiting his chance to strike. This a clash of youth vs. experience. While Staropoli is far more flashy, Alves is incredibly sound in terms of fundamentals. He looks to end the fight in the second round.
10:50 p.m. ET
Alves is the slight Vegas favorite for the fight. He is also nine years older than Staropoli, but experience should only benefit Alves in this three-round fight.
UFC’s broadcast team for 237 is play-by-play man Jon Anik, along with color commentary from the great Dominick Cruz and reigning UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
Most sports do not have their world champ wearing a headset throughout the night, but this is another area where UFC is unique.
Bethe “Pitbull” Correia vs. Irene Aldana—women’s batamweight—10:37 p.m. ET
Aldana wins the fight with a phenomenal belly-down armbar, removing the judges from a fight she was on pace to lose.
Correia had the crowd behind her, but Aldana came into the fight in better condition -- and overcame Correia’s power to win her third fight in a row.
10:32 p.m. ET:
Five minutes into the fight, and Aldana has the early advantage on Correia.
The second round shifted with Correia finally hitting some kicks. Aldana did not adjust her game plan, allowing Correia to control the vast majority of that second round. The lone bright spot for Aldana took place late in that round, as she finally delivered some combinations in the pocket.
It’s a toss-up as we enter the third round.
10:11 p.m. ET
The main fight card for 237 is about to kick off between Bethe “Pitbull” Correia against Irene Aldana.
Correia missed weight by five pounds, but Aldana still accepted the fight. Aldana’s strength is her striking, but she is also extremely smart in the cage. I don’t think Correia can keep up with her tonight. The mic is in Bruce Buffer’s hand, and we are about to get started…
Main Event Preview
UFC 237 takes place tonight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, continuing the worldwide expansion of the brand.
Even without the likes of Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, or Brock Lesnar, the card still holds major significance.
The main event, featuring women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas battling a powerhouse in Jessica Andrade, offers a fascinating clash of styles. UFC 237 also includes a featherweight fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Jose Aldo that is important for both fighters as well as the entire featherweight division.
The legendary Anderson Silva is back with a fight against Jared Cannonier. Silva made news earlier this week with a public request to UFC president Dana White for a fight against Conor McGregor. A win by the 44-year-old Anderson would create more questions than answers regarding his future in UFC.
Here is the rest of our UFC 237 preview from earlier.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.
What: UFC 237
When: Saturday. Early prelims begin at 6:15 p.m.; main card scheduled to start at 10 p.m. (All times ET.)
Where: Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
TV: Pay-per-view broadcast. Early preliminary bouts on ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass (6:15-8 p.m.). Prelims on ESPN (8 p.m.).