Valentina Shevchenko secured another successful flyweight title defense tonight at UFC 255 with a unanimous decision victory over Jennifer Maia.
Front kick to the face attempted early by Shevchenko. Exchange of punches and Shevchenko landed.
Maia lands a right hand and Shevchenko goes for a takedown and lands it in the center of the Octagon. The champion settles into Maia’s guard and isn’t in any rush by the looks of things.
Finally Shevchenko lands an elbow strike to the head. She waits and then lands it again. Maia just trying to tie Shevchenko up for the most part.
A couple of right hooks from Shevchenko. Another couple land and Maia tries to work elbows from her back.
Final minute of the round. Not much action here, but nevertheless a clear round in the reigning champion’s favor.
Spinning kick to the body from Shevchenko. Now she clinches up and soon after lands a takedown. However this time she’s not able to stay on top as Maia rolls on top and they go back upright with the Brazilian landing a knee strike.
Maia pressing Shevchenko into the cage now. She lands a knee. Another lands to the leg. Shevchenko manages to drive away from the cage and lands a knee of her own, but then Maia presses her back up against the Octagon.
Shevchenko landing a few light blows to the head as she’s crushed up against the cage. Knees for Maia.
Shevchenko attempts a takedown, but it fails and Maia gladly ends up on top. Maia lands a right hand. She is taking her time just as the champion was doing in the first round. Shevchenko attempts to walk the cage, but Maia readjusts and keeps on top.
Shevchenko trying for a triangle choke, but Maia escapes that attempt and ends the round on top.
Overhand from Shevchenko grazes the target. Left hand for Shevchenko. Maia connects. Shevchenko with a jab.
Body kick for the champion. Back into the clinch they go and Maia is pressing ‘Bullet’ into the cage. Shevchenko not happy about that and manages to wriggle her way out.
Head kick attempt from Shevchenko bounces off the guard. Punches from Shevchenko. leg kick for Maia. Hard one-two for Shevchenko. Now the champ is in on a takedown and gets it decisively. Clearly she’s feeling a need to re-stamp her authority on this match-up.
Shevchenko in half-guard. Buttefly hooks from Maia and does well to work back to her feet and press Shevchenko back up against the cage.
Maia with knees to the thigh. Knee upstairs attempted now. Shevchenko with light punches to the body. Smart work for the champion to land a late takedown.
Well timed left hand from Shevchenko. Now an outside leg kick. Superwoman punch lands. Now a one-two and Maia lands a counter hook.
Another good one-two for Shevchenko. Another left hand for her. Good stepping jab. Right hand for Maia.
Shevchenko with two punches and Maia lands one of her own. Shevchenko into the clinch and lands a powerful takedown close to the cage.
Shevchenko working from half-guard landing short punches to the head, but not with much power.
The ref Herb Dean is urging more action here as Shevchenko lands shoulder shrugs and more light punches. Maia tries to scramble and Shevchenko takes her back.
Back to half-guard now. More shoulder shrugs and body punches in the final minute of the round. Now a couple of elbows to the thigh for good measure.
Solid jab for Shevchenko. Spinning backfist also grazes the target, but Maia moves into the clinch against the cage regardless.
Knees high to the thigh from Maia, but then Shevchenko reverses the clinch and lands an elbow as she backs out of it.
Hard kick for Shevchenko. A punch too connects and Maia lands one too. Maia with a little blood to her left eye.
Shevchenko throwing with more power now as she puts combinations together, but Maia gets her back into the clinch again.
Shevchenko trying to work knees upstairs here. Maia attempts a takedown, but it doesn’t quite work out and Shevchenko is back up with maia still clinched up.
Shevchenko able to push her away. Maia bleeding from the nose too now. Overhand left for Shevchenko. She attempts a wheel kick but misses.
Another overhand left for Shevchenko. She throws a left and right with power. Now a head kick attempt. Maia back into the clinch again to get some respite from these power shots.
Shevchenko turns her though and lands an elbow on the way out. Hard body kick for Shevchenko. Another left lands. Shevchenko like a different fighter now as she turns up the power. Front kick to the body for Maia. Shevchenko returns to the favor soon after.
Maia with a left hook. Kick for Shevchenko. Another left hand connects from Shevchenko. Double jab for Shevchenko and a right hand from Maia.
Good counter right from Maia. Spinning backfist from Shevchenko. Maia attempting to get back into the clinch as the round ends and we’re headed to the judges.
No real doubts about the winner here then despite Maia having some success early in the fight. Shevchenko started solidly with an early takedown to control the opening five minutes, but Maia got her grappling going in the second round to make things interesting. However, the champion then started to regain control in the rounds that followed and turned up the heat late to ensure the fight was headed in her favor by unanimous decision (49-46 x3).