The UFC 255 co-main event was the setting where the reigning women’s flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko, took a unanimous decision over the #3 ranked, Jenifer Maia. Outside of being controlled by Maia for the bulk of the second-round, Shevchenko had a yet another strong performance. She scored several takedowns and racked up a bunch of top control — on top of winning the striking exchanges. With three scores of 49-46, this is Shevchenko’s fourth successful title defense. Valentina continues to further separate herself from the pack.
Shevchenko got herself an early takedown to get things going. She spent almost the entire round the full guard of Maia, without a ton of activity going on. Shevchenko sprinkled in some arm punches, but nothing devastating was delivered. The champ closed the distance right away in the second round. She got a short-lived takedown, but then was stuck with her back to the cage. Maia was holding Shevchenko against the fence, and they exchanged short strikes back and forth. Shevchenko botched a takedown, giving Maia top position. Maia stayed on top for the rest of the round.
Shevchenko started the third round by landing a set of punching combos. After stalling out in the clinch, the fight returned to open space where Shevchenko started to land. The champion landed a big left hand and immediately muscled a bodylock takedown. After being controlled for a bit, Maia was able to get to her feet, but ate a mean knee to the body in the process. Just before the bell, Shevchenko hit another takedown.
The champion started the fourth frame with a heavy left hand, but Maia wore it rather well. Shevchenko was able to close the distance off of her punching, just like she did in the previous round, and plant Maia on her back. Tons of top control time was racked up for Shevchenko, on top of scoring a bunch of chipping strikes.
The final round began with the fighters striking it out, until Shevchenko blitz her way into the clinch with a flurry of fists. Maia was able to pin the champ’s back to the cage for a bit, but once the fight returned to open space Shevchenko took control. Shevchenko was firing away with a variety of punches to end the bout on a strong note.