UFC 255 is due to be the biggest card in flyweight history, as both champions defend their belts on the same card for the first time ever.
As Deiveson Figueiredo looks to begin his reign of terror against Alex Perez, Valentina Shevchenko looks to make it four successful title defences against Jennifer Maia.
‘Bullet’ is among the best technical fighters in the UFC, male or female, and has made a name for herself as the best flyweight in the company.
Since making her UFC debut in December 2015, Shevchenko has beaten everyone placed in her path except for two razor close decision losses to Amanda Nunes. Her wins include decisions over Sarah Kauffman, Holly Holm, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Liz Carmouche while she has finished Juliana Pena, Priscilla Cachoeira, Jessica Eye and Katlyn Chookagian.
A master of distance management and range control, Shevchenko has cleaned out a division that was essentially made just for her to shine.
She’s too big for the strawweight division and despite her wins, she struggled against the elite of the elite in the bantamweight division. But she’s so good, the UFC made a division in between the two just to show it.
She comes into UFC 255 to take on Maia as a 1/14 favourite (-1400) and despite her opponent being as talented as she is, the odds are reflective of her chances here.
Maia needs a takedown, to end up in top position and secure a submission or to land a big lucky punch while they stand. If that doesn’t happen, ‘Bullet’ will dominate and likely finish the fight pretty much whenever she wants.
In an ideal world, she takes this win and goes back for a third bite of the cherry against Amanda Nunes in a clash that would crown the greatest female fighter of all time. The likelihood is she continues in her weight class and takes on Cynthia Calvillo next, if she can topple Chookagian at UFC 255 herself.
A win doesn’t do much for Shevchenko other than cement the fact that she’s the best 125lber in women’s MMA history. But that’s already the case.
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