In the UFC 255 co-main event Valentina Shevchenko puts he flyweight title on the line against Jennifer Maia.
Round 1: Valentina Shevchenko lands big early with a nice counter. The two women clash and Shevchenko drags the fight to the floor. The champ is sitting in the guard of Jennifer Maia who is a dangerous BJJ player. It’s become something of a stalemate right now, not much is happening and both fighters are stifling the action. Shevchenko postures up and drops a big elbow. A brief pause before she again postures up for another hard elbow. ‘Bullet’ has her head on the chest of Maia and is hammering away with shots to the body and head. Another lull in the action. Maia appears to be uninterested in chasing submissions and content to ride out this round on bottom, which she does.
Round 2: Shevchenko opens up with a spinning back kick to the body. ‘Bullet’ follows it up with a takedown but Maia pops straight back up to her feet. The Brazilian now has control of her opponent against the fence. Maia has a body lock and is letting knee’s fly. Shevchenko temporarily escapes the position and lands a knee of her own before being pushed back to the fence. Both fighters are exchanging insignificant pop shots before Shevchenko botches a takedown attempt and ends up on bottom. Maia has Shevchenko flattened out against the cage. Maia is landing the odd shot but is content to maintain top position. Shevchenko throws up a triangle attempt but it’s shrugged off. Maia rides out round two in top position.
Round 3: Shevchenko looks light on her feet at the start of round three, landing consecutive left hands on Maia. The challenger throws a wild punch which helps her close distance and push the champ up against the fence. ‘Bullet’ escapes but eats a few shots on the exit. The champ goes upstairs with a head kick which is just about blocked. She follows it up with a stiff shot. Shevchenko lands another shot and secures a big takedown off the back of it. ‘Bullet’ is in half guard. After some subtle ground exchanges Maia uses her butterfly guard to force the fight back to the feet. Shes sticks to Shevchenko like glue and once again pushes the fight to the fence. ‘Bullet’ manages to secure another throw and rides out round three on top.
Round 4: Shevchenko lands big at the start of round four. Maia is trying to aggressive close distance but Valentina is staying light on her feet. The champ lands a hard counter left straight down the pipe. Both ladies swing and connect but Shevchenko lands the stronger shot. Maia quickly answers back with a nice punch of her own. Shevchenko initiates the wrestling and secures yet another takedown. Not of lot of action on the mat. Shevchenko has her opponent pressed up against the fence in the half guard position. Referee Herb Dean has given several verbal warnings, this fight may be stood up. Shevchenko starts to get busy which forces Maia to give up the back. She’s got the hooks in but quickly switches back – she’s in the half guard position once again. Thirty seconds left on the clock and the referee again encourages Shevchenko to do more work from the top position. Despite his various warnings ‘Bullet’ is allowed to ride out round four on top.
Round 5: Shevchenko lands successive jabs at the start of round five. The champ spins but misses, which allows Maia to close distance and clinch up against the fence. Shevchenko manages to escape the position and lands a big shot on the break. She’s really trying to go for it in the final round. ‘Bullet’ is blitzing forward with heavy shots but it allows Maia to once again initiate the wrestling exchanges against the fence. Maia fails with a takedown attempt but manages to maintain control against the fence. Shevchenko eventually seperates and goes back to throwing bombs. Maia is busted up now – it looks like her nose is broken. Shevchenko tries another high kick. Maia clinches but is shrugged off and made to pay for her efforts. Shevchenko uses the distance to nail her opponents body with a kick. Maia touches Shevchenko with a kick up the middle. ‘Bullet’ is wading forward but Maia is holding her own in these exchanges. Both ladies are throwing bombs as round five closes out. Maia goes for the takedown and has the champ up against the fence as the horn sounds to end the fight.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Valentina Shevchenko def. Jennifer Maia via unanimous decision