With Khabib Nurmagomedov stranded in Russia and potentially out of UFC 249, the promotion is trying to make sure all fighters currently booked to fight April 18 are in the United States to avoid more hits to the card.
The UFC reached out to former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, who rematches Rose Namajunas in the co-main event of UFC 249 in a yet-to-be-defined location, requesting “Bate Estaca” and her team to leave Niteroi, Brazil, and head to Las Vegas on Tuesday or Wednesday, sources told MMA Fighting.
Brazil closed it borders on Monday, not allowing foreigners to enter the country for the next 30 days. That is not effecting flights departing for other countries.
Andrade has been self-quarantined at home with a teammate since local government imposed a decree forcing all gyms to close its doors. “Bate Estaca” is training exclusively with Bruna Brasil in her garage, recording or even streaming her training sessions live to coach Gilliard Parana.
The 28-year-old mixed martial artist, who hasn’t entered the Octagon since she lost the 115-pound belt to Weili Zhang last August in Shenzhen, told MMA Fighting earlier this month she was willing to compete anywhere in the world.
“If the fight is in Brooklyn, Las Vegas or any other place that is safe, I’ll fight,” Andrade said. “I’ve fought in some many different places in the world, even China, so location doesn’t affect much. It’s about taking care of yourself and staying safe. I’m training hard and focused. I’m sure everything will be alright with time, the number of cases will go down, this virus will go away, and then we’ll find out where we’re fighting. God willing, this fight will happen somewhere.”
The UFC 249 co-main event is a rematch of a championship fight that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May 2019, when “Bate Estaca” knocked out then-champion “Rose” with a slam in the second round.
Andrade wants to compete, but would be okay if the event ultimately got cancelled.
“We are worried because we have families, elders at home, father and mother who live away from us, so our biggest concern is about the human being,” Andrade said. “Financially speaking, I’m fine. Even if the fight doesn’t happen I can get along just fine until my next fight. We’re praying that everyone stays safe and this virus goes away. That’s what really affects us. You see people dying in Italy, and their families can’t even see them, you don’t know where to bury them.”