UFC Fight Night: Lemos vs. Andrade was definitely lacking in some name value, but it certainly made up for that by being one of 2022’s most entertaining cards overall.
With 11 fights on offer and just three of them going the distance, this UFC Fight Night featured some excellent finishes, meaning a number of fighters should be considered big winners.
While only a couple of them are likely to find themselves in title contention in the near future, after last night, some fighters may certainly have climbed a number of rungs on the ladder – and could find themselves ranked soon.
With that in mind, here are the five biggest winners from UFC Fight Night: Amanda Lemos vs. Jessica Andrade.
#5. Charles Jourdain – defeated Lando Vannata in a UFC featherweight bout
When the UFC booked featherweights Charles Jourdain and Lando Vannata against one another on last night’s main card, it looked like they’d put together a surefire contender for the Fight of the Night award.
Both ‘Air’ and ‘Groovy’ have produced some insane bouts in the past and claimed numerous bonus awards, but last night, nobody gave Jourdain the memo that he was supposed to brawl with his opponent.
Instead, ‘Air’ dropped Vannata in the early going with a left hand, and then grabbed onto a guillotine choke when ‘Groovy’ looked to pop back up. That didn’t work, but a second attempt did, as the Canadian latched onto a remarkably tight choke and squeezed the life out of Vannata, even as 'Groovy' attempted to give the referee the thumbs up.
This was Jourdain’s second win in a row in the octagon. While it’s unlikely that he has the skills to ascend into title contention at featherweight, he seems likely to remain with the promotion for a lengthy time, given his all-action style and penchant for finishes.
To be frank, that’s all that the majority of fighters can hope for these days, particularly with the roster being so fluid and new fighters coming and going constantly. To that degree, ‘Air’ Jourdain should be considered one of the night’s biggest winners.
#4. Claudio Puelles – defeated Clay Guida in a UFC lightweight bout
While the UFC often makes a big deal out of hot prospects – look at their treatment of Khamzat Chimaev, for instance – the majority of them tend to fly under the radar somewhat until they pick up a breakout victory.
Fans could easily be forgiven for failing to recognize ‘The Prince of Peru’ as one of the lightweight division’s better up-and-comers. After all, he’d been folded in his UFC debut back in 2016 and hadn’t appeared on the main card of a show since.
However, in the years that followed that loss, Puelles put together a run of four wins, finishing two of them with kneebars. Last night, he performed masterfully, baiting Guida into taking the fight to the ground before running a submission clinic on him, finally finishing the veteran with his favorite hold.
Should Puelles now be considered a contender at 155lbs? It’s debatable. The division is arguably the UFC’s deepest, and there are plenty of fighters around who’d be favored to beat Guida. However, the Peruvian clearly has some serious talent – particularly on the ground – and after this win, it’s unlikely he’ll be ignored any longer.
That alone undoubtedly makes him one of last night’s biggest winners.
#3. Maycee Barber – defeated Montana De La Rosa in a UFC flyweight bout
While she wasn’t able to pick up an impressive finish, the fact that Maycee Barber was able to shut out longtime veteran Montana De La Rosa – taking a unanimous decision over her without dropping a round – makes her one of the bigger winners from last night’s event.
‘The Future’ once had a dream to become the UFC’s youngest-ever champion, and her wins over Hannah Cifers, JJ Aldrich and Gillian Robertson appeared to be putting her on the way to achieving that goal.
However, her losses to Roxanne Modafferi and Alexa Grasso – as well as a serious knee injury – derailed her badly, and while she won her last bout over Miranda Maverick, it came in somewhat controversial fashion.
Last night’s win, though, was far more clear-cut. Barber largely used the clinch to bully De La Rosa, who seemed to be at a disadvantage physically, and when the fight hit the ground, she used her skills and power to easily avoid her opponent’s submission attempts.
Overall, it wasn’t the most entertaining performance from ‘The Future’. However, in the thin flyweight division, it should be enough to move Barber up the rankings slightly, meaning her title dreams, even if they’re now a little late, aren’t totally out of her reach.
#2. Tyson Pedro – defeated Ike Villanueva in a UFC light heavyweight bout
While his fight was strangely buried on last night’s preliminary card, Australian light heavyweight Tyson Pedro made quite the bang in his first UFC appearance since 2018. Based on how well he dealt with Ike Villanueva, it may not be long before he’s back in title contention.
In 2018, Pedro looked like a red-hot prospect as he defeated the likes of Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig with some explosive finishes. However, after losing to a pair of more experienced fighters in Ovince St. Preux and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, the Aussie found himself sidelined with a serious knee injury.
Thankfully, Pedro didn’t appear to have lost much during his lengthy layoff. He took the fight to Villanueva and eventually stopped him with a series of savage leg kicks and some thudding follow-up punches at the end of the first round.
Any fighter who can spend nearly four years away from the UFC and return to look this good deserves plenty of credit, and that alone would make Pedro one of last night’s bigger winners.
However, the fact that he’s still only 30 years old makes him a bigger winner still, as he’s got every chance of making his way back into contention for the light heavyweight crown. If he can do that, he’ll have pulled off one of the best comebacks in recent memory.
#1. Jessica Andrade – defeated Amanda Lemos in a UFC strawweight bout
Naturally, last night’s biggest winner was undoubtedly Jessica Andrade, who submitted Amanda Lemos in the event’s headline. In the process, she picked up her first win at 115lbs since her 2019 UFC strawweight title victory over Rose Namajunas.
Since then, ‘Bate Estaca’ had lost her title and been competing at 125lbs, coming up short in an attempt to win the UFC flyweight title in 2021 when she fell at the hands of Valentina Shevchenko.
Andrade had beaten Cynthia Calvillo in her last fight, but given that last night saw her face an opponent who was on a five-fight win streak, the Brazilian was essentially in a must-win situation if she had any hopes of reclaiming the title she lost to Weili Zhang in 2019.
The fact that Andrade not only picked up that win but did so by utilizing the first standing arm triangle choke in UFC history was a big deal, and while strawweight is a packed division, the truth is that ‘Bate Estaca’ is probably only one or two wins away from another crack at Namajunas.
Essentially, no other fighter who competed on last night’s card is as close to a UFC title shot as Andrade is now, and so there’s no question that she should be considered the night’s biggest winner.