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  • Best UFC 237 bets: Andrade vs. Namajunas 👊

    Best UFC 237 bets: Andrade vs. Namajunas

    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)


    Last week we saw Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone further prove why he is one of the must-watch fighters of the era. He is a fighter who is never intimidated and always game, despite being a frequent underdog. Watching the trajectory and soft-spoken poise of Rose Namajunas, we could be seeing a future legend in the making, thanks to many similarities to Cerrone.

    Unfortunately for "Thug" Rose -- despite twice defeating the seemingly unbeatable former champ, Joanna Jedrzejczyk -- she must now defend her title in an away match in Brazil on Saturday night. She's taking on a worthy No. 1 contender in Jessica Andrade and must also deal with the difficulties of a rowdy crowd in Rio de Janeiro. It will be a daunting challenge for the champion, but that's also how MMA legends are made.

    Let's examine the UFC 237 main event and find some betting value elsewhere on the card.
    Strawweight title matchup: Champion Rose Namajunas (+100) vs No. 1 Jessica Andrade (-120)

    Tale Of The Tape

    Last fight weight class Strawweight Strawweight
    Current age 27 26
    Height (in) 61 65
    Reach (in) 73 69.5
    Stance Orthodox Orthodox
    Analyzed minutes 155 102
    Standup striking offense
    Career knockdown ratio
    (Scored : Received)
    2:1 2:0
    Distance knockdown rate 0.6% 1.3%
    Head jab accuracy 53% 23%
    Head power accuracy 36% 36%
    Total standup strike ratio 1.1 0.9
    Striking defense
    Total head strike defense 64% 80%
    Distance knockdown
    defense ("Chin")
    100% 100%
    Wrestling and grappling
    TD attempts/minute
    (Standing/clinch)
    0.51 0.37
    Takedown accuracy 59% 59%
    Advances per
    takedown/top control
    1.0 1.2
    Opponent takedown attempts 40 11
    Takedown defense 75% 4%
    Share of total ground
    time in control
    78% 72%
    Submission attempts
    per trip to ground
    0.12 0.27
    Namajunas is again on pace to be a rare champion underdog heading into her third consecutive title fight, at plus money. While we already know that underdog champs make for a good bet, we're not accounting for Andrade's home advantage. It's more interesting that while the market has usually loved Andrade, it hasn't always respected Namajunas. On paper, they're very close.


    Both women are gifted strikers, willing to trade leather with high accuracy. But Namajunas exits those exchanges having taken fewer punches in return than her opponents. Andrade likes to be aggressive and control the pace of stand-up but is willing to allow opponents to land punches while she's on the way in. In terms of shot selection, each fighter is primarily a head-striker, with a similarly lower mix of leg and body kicks. That means from round to round we should see Andrade initiating but both women finding targets throughout the furious punching exchanges.

    Should Namajunas time her counters and exits properly, Andrade might end up pushing forward on an uphill battle that works against her. Namajunas has stood in the pocket against the best strikers in the division, including the ultra-aggressive pace of Jedrzejczyk. The champ's high-altitude training will help her last five full rounds of high-paced action, but she won't be able to let her guard down for a minute against Andrade.

    A wild card here is the ground game. Namajunas has shown some flash in her submissions, and two of Andrade's four UFC losses have come by submission. It will be interesting to see if Namajunas initiates takedowns, given that Andrade has demonstrated a highly effective guillotine choke. Perhaps Namajunas would be better served using her submissions defensively to avoid being planted on the ground for too long, and thus giving up a valuable round on the cards.
    E+ recommends: The odds are understandably close, and we're only slightly leaning toward Namajunas in an upset. It would be a small-unit play, and the fact that we're not accounting for the fight's location in Brazil makes us even more tentative. But we're hoping Namajunas sticks consistent counters and accelerates the pace of action into the championship rounds. Andrade also can't be too aggressive on the ground, given the submission arsenal of the champ. One way or the other, we're hoping the legend of "Thug" Rose builds and that she adds a rare away-game title defense to her résumé.

    Other fight card value

    E+ recommends: If the Brazil home cage could give anyone a boost, it's former champion Jose Aldo, who is famous for leaping into the home crowd after victories. His opponent, Alexander Volkanovski, is a formidable one, likely willing to stand and trade with Aldo, which makes for a fun striking duel. But unless the opponent is Max Holloway or Conor McGregor, it seems that Aldo can handle all but the most elite strikers in the division, while Volkanovski has never faced a striker on Aldo's level.

    And while we're on the topic of Brazilian former champions, consider an upset pick on Anderson Silva. Yes, we know Silva is well past his prime, but Jared Cannonier isn't a big power striker and has a vulnerable chin. This pairing was likely selected to give Silva a measured and patient chance in front of the home crowd that adores him and will tolerate his odd fighting pace. You'll even get plus money on Silva in Brazil. Just expect a slow start, as both men prefer a feeling-out process and will wait for the opponent to be the aggressor.

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