The UFC 275 co-main event is where Valentina Shevchenko narrowly pulled out a split decision over Taila Santos in what appeared to be her toughest flyweight title defense to date. Santos found herself controlling the champ on the ground at times across the first-three rounds, with Shevchenko doing her best work in the fourth and fifth frames. When the dust settled, one judge saw it 48-47 for Santos, one had it 48-47 for Valentina, and then the third official calling it 49-46 for the champ. How did you score this one?
There was a bit of measuring going on to begin this one. They then clinched up and Shevchenko pressed Santos against the fence, landing some knees to the body. She tried to muscle a takedown, but that resulted in Santos taking the back. Santos threatened with an RNC, while Shevchenko defended the choke while punching at the same time.
The fighters quickly clinched up in the second act, with Santos shoving Shevchenko against the fence, and ultimately securing a takedown. From her back, Shevchenko briefly threatened with a gogoplata from her full guard, while Santos was focused on controlling. The referee then stood them up for a lack of action. On the feet, Shevchenko successfully hit a head and arm throw, but ended up on the bottom again.
Shevchenko started to get her strikes going in the third round. She was landing her kicks, which was setting up her hands. The champ then blasted a bodylock takedown, but Santos bounced right back up to her feet. Santos then clinched up, pressing Shevchenko against the cage again, and that’s where she hit another takedown. Santos hopped on the back again and started to attack with a rear-naked choke. The round ended in this position.
The fourth frame saw an accidental clash of heads that caused the eye of Santos to badly swell. Shevchenko then kicked Santos in the groin, causing a brief pause in the fight. Upon the restart, Shevchenko started to turn things up. She was letting her strikes go, with most of them landing on the same side as Santos’ swollen eye. With about 20-seconds to go in the round, Santos hit a takedown to finish up the round on the ground.
Shevchenko got aggressive in the final round, and hit that head and arm takedown, but gave up her back in the process. This time, the champ was able to quickly get back to her feet. At about the mid-point of the round, Shevchenko dashed in and secured a takedown. From half guard, she was landing shoulder punches and body shots, while keeping Santos flat on her back until the bell.