The 29-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former strawweight champion is set to take on defending UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White.
The 125-pound title fight will take place at the April 24 pay-per-view event, for which the UFC hasn’t yet finalized a location. It will mark Shevchenko’s fifth attempted title defense.
Shevchenko (20-3) has dominated the weight class since she dropped to 125 pounds from 135 pounds in 2018. She won the vacant belt by defeating another former strawweight champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk in late 2018, then has looked more or less unbeatable in defenses against Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagianand Jennifer Maia.
Andrade (21-8) is widely perceived as the greatest threat to Shevchenko’s reign.
She won the UFC’s 115-pound championship by knocking out Rose Namajunas in May 2019 before surrendering the belt to current champ Zhang Weilithree months later. She moved up to the 125-pound division in October, and scored a first-round knockout over Chookagian.
ESPNranks Shevchenko and Andrade the No. 2 and No. 6 female pound-for-pound fighters in the world, respectively.
The UFC is thisclose to a deal for a high-profile rematch between the 28-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and fellow former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, according to ESPN.
Contracts haven’t been signed yet, but both sides have reportedly agreed to meet on July 11 at a location to be determined.
The location could be the mysterious “Fight Island,” which UFC president Dana White has claimed will be operational by late June.
Namajunas (8-4) was the champion when she first fought Andrade (20-7) in Brazil in May 2019. Namajunas appeared to be winning the bout until Andrade picked her up and slammed her midway through the second round for a knockout victory.
Andrade went on to surrender the title to current champion Zhang Weili in her first attempted defense three months later.
The UFC originally booked this rematch for UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn, but that event was ultimately postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The promotion tried to keep it intact for May 2, but Namajunas was forced to withdraw due to personal reasons.
The winner of the 115-pound contest would have a strong case for another title shot against Zhang, who recently told ESPN she’d like to face Namajunas in her next bout.