Amanda Lemos will challenge Zhang Weili for the UFC strawweight championship on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 292 in Boston, and the last woman to beat her predicts an upset at the TD Garden.
Jessica Andrade, who tapped Lemos with a standing arm-triangle choke in April 2022, saw Lemos rebound with back-to-back finishes over Michelle Waterson-Gomez and Marina Rodriguez to earn a shot at Weili.
Andrade previously felt the power of Weili, losing the UFC championship to the Chinese star via first-round knockout in 2019. But she said Lemos could be a bigger threat on the feet.
“Amanda Lemos is very tough,” Andrade said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “Her striking is very, very hard. If Weili doesn’t be careful, doesn’t take her down, or doesn’t work well with her jiu-jitsu, I believe Lemos becomes the new champion because of the power she has. She’s very, very strong.”
“I’ve fought both, I got hit hard by both,” she laughed, “and I’ll tell you this: Lemos hits harder than Weili. If Weili doesn’t use the right strategy and work on the ground, finds the timing to shoot for takedowns, it will end badly for her.”
Lemos won seven of eight bouts since moving down to strawweight in December 2019, including a trio of first-round finishes, and would score a big upset if she’s victorious against a woman that has stopped the likes of Andrade, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Aguilar in seven octagon victories.
“This is my pick – I think Lemos wins,” Andrade said. “If it goes past the second or third rounds, Lemos wins. I don’t know if Lemos can do five rounds with Weili, she’s been doing this for a few years now, but in terms of power, if Weili doesn’t work against the fence and gets Lemos tired, it will definitely be a knockout in the second or third round.”