As part of a bumper card at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Strawweight contenders Jessica Andrade and Xiaonan Yan will go to war at UFC 288. Ranked at #4 and #6 in the division's rankings respectively, both fighters will look to catapult themselves into title contention and have the next crack at the champion, Zhang Weili.
Dropping back down to Strawweight after a recent bout at flyweight, Andrade is on a three fight win-streak in the division after a loss to former champ Valentina Shevchenko in 2021. In her way, a talented Chinese fighter in Xiaonan Yan looking to build on her victory over Mackenzie Dern in October.
It’s a great fight on a great card, so let’s break it down before offering our Andrade vs Yan prediction.
🇧🇷 Jéssica Andrade vs Yan Xiaonan 🇨🇳
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) May 5, 2023
Jessica Andrade Preview: Veteran Looking To Re-Establish Herself In Title Running
The Brazilian doesn’t have a pretty record like Yan does, with 24 wins and 10 losses, but she is one of the most well established female athletes in UFC history. When you think of the greatest female UFC fighters of all time, it’s likely Andrade has danced with them in the Octagon. Rose Namajunas, Valentina Shevchenko, Weili Zhang, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the list goes on. She has faced contenders and champions in three separate divisions, and not many female fighters on the roster have even comparable experience.
Saturday night will be Andrade’s 12th UFC pay-per-view card appearance, and her ability to jump between divisions is a big reason why. ‘Bate Estaca’ defeated Cynthia Calvillo at flyweight in 2021, before dropping down to Strawweight to defeat Amanda Lemos by submission the following year. The vet has already fought twice in 2023, defeating Lauren Murphy at 125 before falling to Erin Blanchfield in a short notice fight in February.
Jessica Andrade is a PROBLEM!
Andrade vs. Yan is set to go down this Sunday!
— UFC_AUSNZ (@UFC_AUSNZ) May 2, 2023
Expect Jessica to delve into her wrestling arsenal for this fight. Despite the KO victories on her record, her striking maybe isn’t as unpredictable as her opposition's this time. It is part of the reason for her losses against polished strikers like Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk were able to hit and move while avoiding her rather obvious attacks. Yan has the skillset to do this on Saturday night. Nevertheless, Andrade is a force on the ground and Yan skills on the mat are not her greatest strength.
Yan Xiaonan Preview: Huge Opportunity For One Of The Division’s Best Strikers
With a record of 16-3(1), this fight is an amazing opportunity for Yan. A unanimous decision win over Claudia Gadelha back in 2020 capped a 13 fight win-streak for ‘Fury’, before a devastating KO loss to former champ Carla Esparza and a split decision loss to Marina Rodriguez in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Yan bounced back with an impressive win over Mackenzie Dern in which she proved her defensive wrestling and grappling have been continually improving. Andrade’s skillset will be another major challenge for her after passing the test provided by Dern.
Yan came into the UFC as a largely unproven prospect, signed to make the numbers up of a UFC card in mainland China back in 2017. Then she went on a tear and has legitimately become a contender in the Strawweight division. Xiaonan brings speed and aggression to her fights with a reliance on striking. 47% of her wins have come via KO or TKO, so there’s power in the hands of the Chinese fighter.
Jessica Andrade vs Yan Xiaonan Prediction: Who’s Gonna Win At UFC 288?
Maybe unsurprisingly, the veteran Brazilian is the favourite according to Vegas with the odds currently sitting at:
A lot of this fight depends on Andrade’s game plan. Rarely have we seen Andrade respect her opponents striking, often going into fights all guns blazing and swinging wild hooks and body shots due to her power advantage over typical adversaries. She must be careful as Yan is the slicker striker in this matchup, with better technique, movement and strike defence.
One must question how taxing a third fight in three months will be on Adrade’s body also. In her most recent fight, her loss to Erin Blanchfield, she did not look herself and another cut down to 115 could leave the gas tank low on fuel if we get into the later minutes of the fight.
Back The Experience And More Complete Fighter In Andrade
As long as Jessica isn’t too gassed out and stick to a regimented game plan to expose the less well-rounded game of Yan, we should the Brazilian’s hand raised on Saturday night.
Ultimately, Andrade possesses more ways to win this fight. She can go out and finish her Chinese opponent early on, whether KO on the feet on TKO through ground-and-pound. Andrade’s submission skills are also a threat to Yan and could spell an end to the fight if it hits the mat. The possibility of a decision victory for Andrade is there too even though only ten of her fights have gone to decision, winning seven and lost three.
It’s hard to see how Yan wins this fight without grinding out the full 15 minutes and taking it to the judge’s scorecards. Xiaonan must use her jab to control the space and prevent Andrade trading with her in the pocket where she is most dangerous. The explosivity of the Brazilian will be a difficult task to deal with for Yan and if Andrade can connect, it could be a short night for Yan.
This fight is a difficult one to pick, especially due to the inconsistent form shown by Andrade and the lack of big-time tests passed by Yan. However, our Andrade vs Yan prediction is that Jessica is the woman with her hand raised in New Jersey. She’s simply the more well-rounded fighter and has multiple routes to victory. Nevertheless, an entertaining battle of Strawweights awaits us at UFC 288