Tatiana Suarez is back at in the strawweight division and she's got a huge mountain to climb in the form of Jessica Andrade. 9-0 with six finishes and all of the potential in the world, Suarez was sidelined for four years due to a neck and then a knee injury — two spots that fighters need to be very careful with.
However, she returned earlier this year at flyweight and won her fight via second-round submission. Following this win, she announced that she'll return to strawweight in pursuit of UFC gold. As the co-main event for UFC on ESPN 50, we've got a budding and promising contender taking on a former champion that wants her belt back.
This is a fight that'll determine the number one contender. The champion, Weili Zhang, is scheduled to fight Amanda Lemos in a few weeks at UFC 292. The winner tonight very well could be challenging for the title next. So, look for both of these fighters to try and make it irrefutable that they're next for the belt.
Tatiana Suarez vs Jessica Andrade: What's on the Line?
As we said, this feels like a fight for the number one contender spot, or at least one fight away from it. With Rose Namajunas going up to flyweight, it seems that we're finally going to be getting some fresh fighters in the 115lb title pool. Xiaonan Yan, Mackenzie Dern, Amanda Lemos and potentially Tatiana Suarez.
Jessica Andrade is nowhere near done, though; though she's dropped two straight, she's still a top tier fighter and is not yet at a “gatekeeper” status. If she can knockout Suarez, then the whole division will be forced to take notice and worry about her rise back toward the belt. But, Suarez has yet to taste defeat, so Andrade has quite the chore ahead of her to realize another title.
UFC on ESPN 50 has been electric so far, and this is one of those fights that can steal the Fight of the Night award. Don't blink.
UFC on ESPN 50 Round by Round Coverage: Suarez vs Andrade
We're now at the co-main event! Here, we'll give you live coverage, updates and our take on how the rounds are being scored. We'll give the official result right as it's being read, too. This is one of those fight where you'll want to know all of the details, and we've got you covered.
Round 1: Round one starts and we see that the former champ is coming in much more composed than she did her last fight. Her pressure ultimately cost her, but now, she's pressing forward without taking many risks. Tatiana spams kicks to the body while circling the perimeter of the cage.
Suarez hits a low single, scores some control time from a front head lock and nails the body of Andrade with knees. Jessica came alive at the end of the round, but it's not enough.
Round 2: Jessica is a bit more brazen at the start of this round and that cost her. Suarez hits a takedown, attacks a D'Arce for a second before switching her grip to the guillotine choke. The former champ taps and a contender is further solidified. Great work by Tatiana Suarez, who was just awarded her jiu jitsu black belt after this fight.
Official result: Tatiana Suarez via second round submission