UFC on FOX 28 may have a strawweight title eliminator on its hands.
UFC Orlando (UFC on FOX 28) has a crucial strawweight fight set, as former title challengers Jessica Andrade and Karolina Kowalkiewicz will meet on the card. Word of the fight was first reported by Brazil’s Combate. The UFC has yet to confirm the pairing. Both fighters previously lost to former strawweight Queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk. However, with Joanna Champion dethroned at UFC 217 by Rose Namajunas, the division is wide open.
Following her loss to Jedrzejczyk, Brazil’s Andrade (17-6) picked up a big win against another title challenger, Claudia Gadelha. That came via unanimous decision at September’s UFC Saitama (UFC Fight Night 117). Since dropping to the 115lb division from bantamweight, Andrade’s only loss has been to the Polish ex-champ. She’s 4-1 in the weight class.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz got back in the win column in October when she won a unanimous decision in her native Poland at UFC Gdansk. Also a former title challenger, Kowalkiewicz (11-2) had suffered her first two professional defeats prior to that, to Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha.
With Gadelha considering a move to flyweight, and the division open for the first time in the past year or more, this now becomes a key fight. Andrade and Kowalkiewicz remain two of the biggest names in the strawweight division, and for good reason.
UFC on FOX 28, otherwise known as UFC Orlando, takes place February 24 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.