Jessica Andrade turned back the clock at a crossroads moment in her career on Saturday. Andrade knocked down Mackenzie Dern four times in their fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City before the referee had seen enough to reward her with the TKO victory.
Andrade was a wounded animal entering the fight having lost three consecutive fights this year. It was the perfect opportunity for Dern to lunge on the former strawweight champion, but Dern lacked the overall skills required to cement herself as a legitimate contender. Andrade's four knockdowns were the most from any women in a single UFC fight and she did it less than nine minutes.
Dern is one of the most accomplished women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but she's yet to develop the offensive wrestling or striking required to best the upper end of the division. Andrade thwarted early takedown attempts and mauled her on the feet. The referee mercifully waved off the fight after Dern dropped for the fourth time.
"I know how tough she is on the ground," Andrade said in Portuguese during her post-fight interview. "I knew she was a tough fighter and would always be there. I didn't want to overcommit and give her an opportunity to submit me. I was very poised and calm and this strategy worked."
Andrade improved to 25-12 and ends the year fighting five times in the UFC, going 2-3. Dern dropped to 13-4 and has alternated between wins and losses in her last five fights.
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