LAS VEGAS — At just 23 years old, Erin Blanchfield may be the most promising title contender the UFC has seen in a long time. On Saturday, she earned the most impressive victory of her career, submitting former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade via rear-naked choke at the 1-minute, 37-second mark of the second round. The strawweight fight headlined UFC Fight Night at the UFC’s Apex facility.
Blanchfield (11-1) has been a professional MMA fighter since 2018 and signed with the UFC just this year. Her victory over Andrade (24-10) is proof of her talent at 125 pounds. After the fight, Blanchfield stated her desire to take on the winner of the upcoming Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso title bout on March 4th.
The New York native’s skill on the ground was on display once again in this fight. She used an inside trip to take Andrade to the floor at the start of the second round and then quickly secured the rear-naked choke. Even more impressive was her performance on the feet, where she managed to land multiple power right hands against a well-known knockout artist.
Saturday marked Blanchfield’s first appearance in a UFC main event. She had originally been slated to fight former title challenger Taila Santos in a three-round fight, but the UFC restructured its schedule and she was moved up to the main event. Santos withdrew last week and Andrade stepped in on short notice, yet she was still the betting favorite.