The UFC have announced the women’s flyweight championship will be defended in the main event of UFC 261 as Valentina Shevchenko defends her title against Jessica Andrade.
Shevchenko is currently on a six-fight win streak and will make her fifth defence of her 125lbs title against the former strawweight champion Andrade, who won her debut in the division last time out against Katlyn Chookagian.
The Brazilian won the 115lbs belt back in May 2019 with a TKO win over Rose Namajunas with a violent slam, before losing it to Weili Zhang in August of that year. She was then beaten by Namajunas in a rematch at UFC 251 before deciding to make the move up to what she called her “natural” weight-class in October.
Shevchenko on the other hand has been completely dominant since her run in the UFC began back in 2015, losing only twice – both times to bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes via decision.
UFC 261 is due to take place on April 24th 2021 and while a location isn’t determined yet, it’s expected to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the UFC Apex. No other fights have been announced for the card yet.
Following her most recent wins over Chookagian and Jennifer Maia at UFC 255, many were speculating about the possibility of a super-fight for Shevchenko as it was suggested that she may have cleaned out the division.
With Andrade winning in her debut plus the previous title win she had in another division, Dana White made the claim that the 29-year-old could yet prove to be her toughest challenge yet at flyweight and wanted to make the fight.
A win for the Kyrgyzstani fighter would make a super-fight the only possible fight for her going forward, whether it be against Zhang who moves up to become a double-champ or her returning to bantamweight to fight Amanda Nunes for a third time.
A win for Andrade would be arguably the biggest shock in UFC women’s MMA history, with Shevchenko already cemented as the greatest flyweight in the world and regarded as one of the greatest of all time behind Nunes.
With an action packed PPV month in March planned with five title fights scheduled for UFC 259 and UFC 260, Shevchenko and Andrade will look to put on a show to ensure their slightly less stacked card will still be one to remember.