“At paille, I already had three years of experience competing with some of the best in the world and I had already been able to structure my personal and professional life. I was making more money which meant I was able to invest more in myself and in my development as a fighter.
“In the bantamweight, I was already pretty confident, but when I faced girls of my size, it exploded and made all the difference in my performance and in my outlook on sport,” he said. she continued. “Now at flyweight you see the happiest version of me; I don’t have to lose a lot of weight so I can focus on training and improving. It was the main weight class I competed in before entering the UFC and it’s the one I think I can have the most longevity in.
“Getting flyweight was a breath of fresh air,” Andrade added. “It gave me a level of happiness, especially during fight week, that I haven’t felt in years, and when I’m happy I’m very dangerous.
As happy and dangerous as she can be – and the Brazilian powerhouse is, in fact, both – Andrade is fully aware of the challenge she faces when she enters the Octagon with Shevchenko on Saturday night.
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“I’ve been watching Valentina for a long time,” Andrade began, discussing the champion’s repertoire and her best path to victory this weekend. “Back when she was still competing in Peru, we had teammates fighting at the same events.
“She has always been a very complete fighter. Even though she is a Muay Thai fighter, you know that even in Muay Thai, she has never been a very traditional Muay Thai fighter; she used a lot of melee and throws even there.
“On paper, the best course would be to do something like Jennifer Maia was able to do in one round of their fight,” the challenger continued, citing the efforts of her compatriot to reduce the distance, to work from the clinch. and fight for the canvas when she faced Shevchenko at UFC 255. “If I can get close, I know I can take her down and work in first position.
“But in a five-round fight, I have 25 minutes to connect my hands, so even though the fight is all on our feet, I still believe I can hurt her there.”