UFC 255 results: Valentina Shevchenko continues to dominate the flyweight division
UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko took a solid test from Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 on Saturday in Las Vegas. Although Maia was tough and rushed Shevchenko, the champion proved why she is considered one of the best fighters on the planet. Shevchenko has been excellent during his tenure in the UFC. Although she lost once – to Liz Carmouche – before entering the Octagon, the only fighter she lost to under the UFC banner was Amanda Nunes, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest female fighters of all time. Shevchenko looked sharp with his hands at the start, but surprisingly picked up and threw Maia behind his back in the first minute of the first round. Maia did a good job trying to tie up Shevchenko’s arms, but couldn’t stop punishing punches and elbows. She managed to escape with little damage, however. Shevchenko clinched and took Maia to the canvas as soon as the second round opened, but the challenger immediately escaped and put Shevchenko against the fence. Shevchenko tried to make her way, but Maia finally put her on the canvas. The second round was a solid frame for Maia, who worked from inside Shevchenko’s half-guard and full guard for the remainder of the round, controlling the champion’s position. After spending much of the second frame on his back, Shevchenko went on a headhunt in the third round. She landed a few crisp snaps in the first moments of the image before Maia briefly handed her over to the fence. Shevchenko escaped and returned to his net shot, landing a head kick followed shortly later with a blistering punch combination. After stinging Maia, Shevchenko unhooked her and dragged her across the canvas again. The champion went to work in half-guard, but Maia used her jiu-jitsu skills to bring the fight back to standing, and again pinned Shevchenko to the fence. In the final 10 seconds of the third round, Shevchenko scored another out, probably doing enough to secure the round. As we approached fourth frame, it emerged Shevchenko was likely 29-28 ahead on the scorecards. With blood dripping from both women’s noses, Shevchenko took an early stab with a hard left hand to open the fourth round. Finding his distance, Shevchenko landed several more shots in the opening two minutes of the lap. Maia responded with a solid right hand, but Shevchenko clinched and put Maia on her back, quickly tackling her against the fence. Shevchenko put his fist in Maia’s face and planted shoulder thrusts until she could advance to a higher position, although still in Maia’s half-guard. It was another strong round for Shevchenko, who needed Maia a finish to win the fight before the final round. Shevchenko cornered Maia with a jab, but missed her with a spinning back fist, finding her against the fence again. She quickly backed up and escaped, however, planting her jab in Maia’s face again. Maia propelled forward, only to face a blitz of Shevchenko punches. Resistant to the storm, Maia latched onto and pressed Shevchenko against the fence. The champion escaped again, injuring Maia with another combination of punches. Holding her ground, Maia’s face was covered in blood, as Shevchenko continued to fire with his arsenal of punches and kicks. Maia didn’t back down, but had no response to Shevchenko’s stellar strike. Maia snuck in the occasional power shot, but had evidence of Shevchenko’s punches and elbows on her face. The judges saw the fight unanimously, 49-46 on all three scorecards, for the champion. The victory was Shevchenko’s fourth UFC flyweight title defense, keeping her in thin air as one of the greatest fighters on the planet. TRENDS> Invicta FC 43 highlights: Kayla Harrison wins brutally “I’m glad there were five laps. After a long layoff, I needed to feel the spirit of the fight, ”Shevchenko said after the fight, acknowledging that she had sustained a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury earlier in the year that required surgery. “It was MCL. It was surgery. So we just took a few more months to make sure (he was completely healed). With the win over Maia, Shevchenko could be set to defend her belt against Jessica Andrade, who recently supplanted Kaitlyn Chookagian as the No.1 contender in the UFC’s women’s flyweight division.