Valentina Shevchenko
New UFC Women's Flyweight Champion
December 8, 2018
Shevchenko won the vacant UFC Women's Flyweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) at UFC 231 in Toronto.
Shevchenko is ridiculous. Facing one of the best female mixed martial artists of all time, Valentina rolled over her like it was nothing. She was credited with five takedowns landed on 16 attempts. It's not as if Valentina was looking to get this fight to the mat, but she was so much bigger and stronger than Joanna that dragging her to the mat made the most sense. She dominated in every position and made Joanna look like a novice. If you want to nitpick, you could say that Shevchenko's cardio weakened in Rounds 4 and 5. Still, it was a heck of an effort. It's going to take a monumental effort for another woman to take this belt from Valentina.
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Moving back to UFC 231
October 9, 2018
Shevchenko will now face Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 on Dec. 8 in Toronto for the vacant flyweight title, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
It was announced last week that Shevchenko would instead fight Sijara Eubanks in the headline spot at UFC 230, but after much fan backlash, UFC brass eventually decided to go in another direction. They'll return Shevchenko to her originally-planned fight against Jedrzejczyk, which is an excellent battle of strikers that the fans want to see. Jedrzejczyk has rolled through every opponent in the strawweight division that was not named Rose Namajunas, but has been known to have tough weight cuts and will now look to take her career in another direction. Standing in her way is Shevchenko, who is slightly larger in stature after fighting at 135 pounds for the majority of her career. While Joanna typically thrives with volume, Shevchenko should be able to land less while doing an equal amount of damage. She'll also have greater mat skills in her back pocket entering fight night. It's an excellent matchup, and one that should be quite close in the sportsbooks.
Set to fight Sijara Eubanks at UFC 230
October 2, 2018
Shevchenko will fight Sijara Eubanks at UFC 230 for the vacant women's flyweight championship in New York City on Nov. 3, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Shevchenko was originally scheduled to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 before she was tabbed as the headliner for November's card. The 30-year-old is 3-2 over her last five bouts, with both losses coming to Amanda Nunes in the bantamweight division. Shevchenko hasn't fought since defeating Priscila Cachoeira in February by submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 2 -- her first fight down at 125 pounds. She had recently been in line to face TUF 26 winner Nicco Montano for the flyweight belt, but that matchup fell through after Montano had to withdraw due to weight cutting issues. The UFC then decided to strip the belt from Montano, leaving it up for grabs for the winner of this UFC 230 fight. Shevchenko's new opponent, Eubanks, defeated Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision in her first official UFC fight in June. Many had pegged Eubanks as the favorite to win season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter, but weight cutting issues of her own forced her to withdraw from the show. She made weight without issue for her recent fight against Lauren Murphy, and will now get a chance to compete for the belt that eluded her on the reality TV program. Look for the more experienced Shevchenko to enter as a sizable betting favorite.
To fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231
September 20, 2018
Shevchenko will face off against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 for the vacant women's flyweight championship in Toronto on Dec. 8, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN reports.
Shevchenko (15-3) is 3-2 over her past five fights, being defeated twice by Amanda Nunes. Most recently, Shevchenko defeated Priscila Cachoeira by submission (rear-naked Choke) during Round 2. Jedrzejczyk is 15-2 overall but has struggled as of late, losing two of her past three fights. Both losses came at the hands of Rose Namajunas. Jedrzejczyk's most recent bout was a win, however, as she defeated Tecia Torres via unanimous decision during UFC on Fox 30.
Will not fight at UFC 228
September 7, 2018
Shevchenko will not compete on the UFC 228 card after her originally-scheduled opponent, Nicco Montano, was taken to the hospital prior to weigh-ins Friday morning, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
There was brief talk of a replacement opponent for Shevchenko, and even rumors of one of the strawweights moving up, but those suggestions were put to bed quickly. It's an extremely tough break for Shevchenko, who is no stranger to late-notice cancellations through no fault of her own. Even as the challenger, she had risen as high as a (-1400) betting favorite, and was poised to be the cornerstone of many fantasy lineups.
Title fight in jeopardy
September 7, 2018
Shevchenko's UFC Women's Flyweight Championship fight against Nico Montano at UFC 228 in Dallas on Saturday is now in question after Montano was taken to the hospital Friday morning for an undisclosed reason, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
Since this is happening so close to the actual fight date, it's possible Shevchenko wouldn't be given a replacement for Saturday, especially since there are no other female flyweights listed on the UFC 228 card who could step into the title fight. More news on the situation is expected in short order when Montano's health status has been updated.