Main takeaways from Yankees’ demolition over the Chicago Cubs (6/12/22)

matt carpenter, yankees

The New York Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs in a three-game series over the weekend, finishing the finale with an 18–4 victory. The Yankees outscored the Cubs 28–5, putting on an offensive display in the series’ final two games.

The Bombers are flying high as they prepare to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series this week starting on Tuesday. Afterward, they will travel to Toronto before heading down south to Tampa Bay and then hosting Houston. The next few weeks are critical to the Yankees’ prolonged success and justification they can beat good teams regularly.

Main takeaways from the Yankees’ demolition of the Cubs on Sunday:

1.) Matt Carpenter is a monster

When the Yankees signed veteran infielder Matt Carpenter to a minimum contract, they didn’t anticipate he would be hitting .333 with a 46.7% on-base rate and 1.125 slugging percentage. Carpenter has hit six homers this season, tallying 13 RBIs and a 1.592 OPS. Against the Cubs on Sunday, he launched two homers and collected seven RBIs. For context, Aaron Hicks has only produced 11 RBIs over 187 plate appearances this season. Carpenter has bested that number in just 29 plate appearances this season.

If Carpenter continues to perform like this, the Yankees will be in great shape down the stretch when they need reserves to step up and mitigate fatigue.

2.) Higashioka gets out of his funk

With Jose Treviño being scratched from the lineup due to a minor lower back injury, Kyle Higashioka got the call again Chicago. Higashioka finally broke his home run drought, launching two on Sunday and recording two RBIs. He now has a .172 average on the season, still well below expectations.

Nonetheless, if Higgy can break out of his funk and provide a bit of consistency at the bottom of the order, the Yankees will be lethal in all areas.

3.) The Yankees have the best offense in baseball

As a unit, the Yankees produced 17 hits and 18 runs in the finale, adding seven walks to the mix. Everybody got in on the action, specifically the team’s sluggers. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton combined for five hits and five runs. However, it was nice to see the bottom of the order producing, as the final four batters combined for six hits and seven RBIs.

The Cubs don’t present the most significant challenge, so the Yankees have to be on top of their game as they prepare for a tough few weeks.

Yankees’ star catcher dealing with minor injury, scratched from Sunday’s lineup

jose trevino, yankees

The New York Yankees stumbled upon a spark plug with catcher Jose Treviño, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in a three-player trade prior to the start of the season.

Treviño has been phenomenal over 39 games this season, hitting .309 with five homers and 18 RBIs. His 35.6% on-base percentage and 13.5% strikeout rate are two great numbers the Yankees have come to rely on at the bottom of their batting order.

Going into the 2022 campaign, the Bombers were committed to Kyle Higashioka as the starter, but that has quickly changed with Treviño’s excellence. To start the month of June, Treviño is hitting .476 with a 52.2% on-base rate, two homers, and six RBIs. He’s struck out just three times over 21 at-bats.

The Yankees need to be careful with Treviño:

However, manager Aaron Boone is resting Treviño after he sustained a minor back injury that has been bothering him a little.

Trevino is currently dealing with “a little back thing,” Boone said prior to Sunday’s game.

“Came in with it still lingering today,” Boone said. “So with the off day [Monday] ahead of 20 in a row isn’t something I wanted to mess with. He’s available too. Treat it like a normal day where he’s on the bench, so pinch-hitting situations and things like that, he’s good to go. Just something we didn’t want to mess with.”

As Boone mentioned, the Yankees are preparing to play 20 straight games and will desperately need Treviño 100% healthy. Giving Higashioka the start in the final game of a three-game series against Chicago on Sunday was an easy decision, especially after Jose walked off Friday night’s game with a bottom of the 13th inning single.

Defensively this season, Treviño has a 51.9% strike rate, the highest in his career up to this point. Among MLB catchers, Treviño ranks second in strike rate with +3 catcher framing runs. In other words, he’s been phenomenal, and doing everything possible to maintain his health is of the utmost importance.

New York Jets: Lowkey tight end Lawrence Cager having strong OTAs

Lawrence Cager, Jets

The New York Jets signed Lawrence Cager as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He was a big and tall wide receiver prospect out of Georgia, coming off a career year in 2019. Cager was an intriguing rookie free agent with his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame. Now, he has made the move from wide receiver to tight end and has supposedly done a solid job in OTAs to this point.

Cager’s background

During his first four years of college, from 2015-18, Cager was at the University of Miami. He then transferred to the University of Georgia in 2019, where he posted career-highs in catches with 33 and receiving yards with 476 in only eight games played. Of his 78 catches in college, 14 went for touchdowns, nearly 20%. He also caught 14 touchdowns over 33 total games played, almost one every two games.

Cager then went on to sign with the Jets as an undrafted free agent. He spent his entire rookie year in 2020 with the team, bouncing back and forth between the active roster and practice squad. Cager spent 2021 with the Jets up until the end of training camp, when he was waived. He then signed with the Cleveland Browns, where he was on both the active roster and practice squad throughout the season.

Shortly after the 2021 regular season, Cager signed back with the Jets on a reserve/future contract. When he signed in January, it was announced he would be making the move from wide receiver to tight end.

2022 outlook for Cager

Considering his size, it makes sense why the position change would take place for Cager. He reportedly got bigger this offseason with his weight and muscle as he plays a more physical position. To this point, Cager has shown some promise at OTAs. Connor Hughes of The Athletic spoke highly of Cager on The Can’t Wait show. He stated that he has consistently made plays in the passing game each day. Hughes spoke on the fact that he is a tough matchup for linebackers and safeties with his receiver background.

Cager is still a young player who will turn 25 in August. If he continues to show growth at tight end, it will be interesting to see if Cager can compete to make the final roster as the fourth tight end.

Giants players ‘scared’ after messing up in practice following Joe Judge’s tenure

giants, joe judge

The New York Giants have been moving through head coaches at an unacceptable rate the past few seasons. After Pat Shurmur, Big Blue hired Joe Judge and his disciplinarian style to help correct the franchise and put them in the right direction. Unfortunately, he was fired after just two seasons, with the team showcasing embarrassing play during the 2021 campaign.

However, one of Judge’s staples was consequential practices and physically straining strategies. The Giants would normally run laps for making mistakes in practice, and while Judge indicated he didn’t want to be anything like Bill Belichick, his authoritarian style carried over.

There’s a difference between Belichick and Judge. One of them is arguably the best head coach in NFL history, and the other is a special-teams coordinator who hasn’t earned the respect of players. The Giants simply didn’t take well to his approach, so ownership brought in his exact opposite, Brian Daboll.

That is not to say that Daboll isn’t a disciplinary figure, but he respects the players’ learning methods and creates personal relationships with each individual face to help breed a more family-based culture. The Giants have an entirely different feel about them since Daboll, and general manager Joe Schoen took over.

However, the players are still showing signs of fear after two seasons of Judge’s consequences.

“You can just kind of tell people get a little scared when they mess up,” Jon Feliciano said, per Giants Wire. “No one likes messing up. But, like, it’s OK.

The New York Giants are going with a more player-friendly approach:

During Judge’s tenure, the Giants ran laps and underwent strict physical requirements for making mistakes in practice. Now, the mentality is more of a learning culture rather than the fear of consequences.

“Dabes wants you to take chances. If something happens, it’s all right. It’s not all right, but this is the time for it to happen.”

Practice is a strategy that creates growth and learning from mistakes, not being punished for them. Every player learns how to execute differently, whether that be visual or physically executing.

It is interesting to see that players are still feeling the repercussions of an authoritarian head coach, especially with Daboll being the exact opposite. Hopefully, they will adjust to the new style and have a more positive experience moving forward.

The Yankees have tapped into a gold mine with Aaron Judge’s recent position changes

aaron judge, yankees

When Yankees general manager Brian Cashman low-balled star slugger Aaron Judge this past off-season on a big contract extension, he likely didn’t imagine he would have one of the best seasons of any player in Major League Baseball.

Judge has been a bit inconsistent in the past due to injury, but after playing in 148 games last year and showcasing stellar health this season, Cashman is likely quivering in his boots. Judge turned down a seven-year deal worth $30.5 million per season in hopes of getting an even bigger contract. At this point in time, the veteran slugger looks like his wish will be fulfilled.

The Yankees are finding new ways to build upon Judge’s production:

The Yankees have utilized Judge in multiple different ways this year to expand on his talents. Traditionally, he featured in the right field position and batted 2nd in the order. So far, management has transitioned him to centerfield for a large portion of the season and have given him lead-off duties on multiple occasions.

Judge has spent 226.2 innings in right field and 203 in center, a pretty even split. He has a perfect fielding percentage in both spots but showcased his ability to track down fly-balls and make diving catches in center — this is necessary when covering so much ground.

The biggest concern was that Judge would suffer injuries displaying too much effort in center, similar to Giancarlo Stanton and his dwindling role as a defender.

The 30-year-old outfielder has alleviated those injury concerns thanks to Eric Cressey and the teams improved physical fitness team.

The leadoff spot:

One of the more interesting gold mines the Yankees have tapped into recently is Judge’s ability to dominate as a leadoff hitter. His sample size is small but his numbers are magnificent. Over 13 at-bats batting first, Judge has recorded four hits, three homers, six RBIs, and two walks. He hosts .308 average with a 35.3% on base rate and 1.353 OPS.

Insanely, batting second, Judge has 62 hits, 21 homers, 42 RBIs, and is hitting .318 over 195 at-bats. His nearly 40% on base rate and 1.087 OPS is one of the best lines in baseball. In other words, Judge is gearing up for the payday of a lifetime if he can maintain this pace.

Over 57 games, he features 24 homers already, well on his way to surpassing the 60 benchmark, which would blow his previous record of 52 out of the water.

What’s even more impressive is Judge’s efficiency with runners in scoring position. When a runner is at first base, Judge is hitting .319. With runners at first and second, he’s hitting .543 with two homers and nine RBIs.

Another interesting stat is Aaron’s success during night games this season. Over 138 at-bats during night games, Judge is hitting .326 with a 39.4% OBP, 45 hits and 17 homers.

After the 6th inning, Judge becomes a menace in the batter’s box. He features a batting average of above .300 in each inning. In the 8th, Judge is his most dangerous, hitting .393 over 28 at bats this season, including four homers and nine RBIs.

Overall, the Yankees have gotten him involved in a number of different ways to extrapolate on his strengths. We’ve seen him feature in the outfield and as a lead-off hitter this season, which is unusual based on his usage in the past. Nonetheless, he’s proven to be more than capable of dominating at any OF spot or batting slot the Yankees toss him into.

Yankees could bring back former bullpen arm at the trade deadline

david robertson, cubs, yankees

The New York Yankees demolished the Chicago Cubs on Saturday evening thanks to solo home runs from Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Glyber Torres, Jose Trevino, and Anthony Rizzo. The Bombers had a total of six homers on the evening, recording 11 total hits and eight RBIs.

After a more difficult series against the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees are right back on track against a struggling Cubs team. Having won 10 of their last 11 games, the Yankees host the top spot in the AL East by 8.5 games and sit five games above the New York Mets in all of baseball.

The Yankees feature a .729 winning percentage and +113 run differential. However, general manager Brian Cashman will likely be active at the trade deadline to help inject more talent into a roster that has World Series aspirations.

Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the bullpen market will be a place the Yankees look for support:

The Yankees are planning to look for bullpen help. They will be far from alone. Top relievers who could be available include David Bednar, Michael Fulmer, and former Yankees Mark Melancon, Ian Kennedy and David Robertson. … The Yankees told Miguel Andjuar that though they’ve tried to trade him. the offers haven’t been good enough.

Here’s a cheap option the New York Yankees should target at the deadline:

One option the Yankees should seriously consider is former relief pitcher David Robertson. Robertson spent the first seven years of his career with the Yankees, making a short pitstop with the Chicago White Sox before coming back to the Bronx. Since then, he has featured with Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Chicago this season.

At 37 years old, Robertson is undoubtedly at the tail end of his career, but he’s having one of his best seasons to date. Over 22.2 innings pitched, Robertson features a 1.59 ERA, 12.71 strikeouts per nine, and a lowly 0.40 home runs per nine rate. His 87.4% left on base rate is the best since 2017.

Robertson has changed his pitch sequence entirely, reallocating his four-seam fastball to a lethal cutter which he’s thrown 53.2% this year. He has also incorporated a slider at 23% and a curveball at 23.8%. His cutter hovers around 93 mph, which still features solid velocity, even landing 1 mph higher than his career average with his four-seam.

Interestingly, Robertson’s slider has been lethal this year. He has not given up a single base hit when throwing a slider, and batters are hitting just .103 against his curveball. His cutter is a bit more hittable at .243 but is still generating a 20.3% whiff rate.

The veteran relief arm has reinvented himself during the latter portion of his career. He has dabbled with a sinker in the past, so if the Yankees brought him back to New York, they may try to add that pitch back to his repertoire, which could give him even more longevity.

With Chicago struggling considerably this season, the Yankees would have to give up next to nothing to get Robertson back, which makes a prospective trade even more enticing.

Knicks bring in G League Ignite’s MarJon Beauchamp for solo workout

Aside from eyeing to trade up for Purdue’s Jaden Ivey or G League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels, the New York Knicks are also entertaining trading down.

The Knicks have brought in Daniels’ G League Ignite teammate Marjon Beauchamp for a reported solo workout Saturday at their Tarrytown facility. Beauchamp posted a Knicks workout jersey on his Instagram confirming he worked out with the team.

Beauchamp is projected to be available at No. 11 but most major mock drafts have slotted the rugged wingman beyond the lottery. His draft stock is all over the place from the No. 19 (Bleacher Report) to No. 26 (The Athletic). So it’s more likely that he is a trade down candidate for the Knicks.

Beauchamp possesses a massive 7’0.75” wingspan and with a relentless defensive motor plus an interesting story of perseverance, it’s not hard to tell why the Knicks are into him similar to how they valued Quentin Grimes in the last draft.

The only difference between Grimes and Beauchamp is the shooting piece. Beauchamp only shot 24.2 percent from the three-point range in 12 G League games. It can be argued that it’s not the best representation of Beauchamp’s real shooting prowess as he shot 39.8 percent in college, albeit in a JUCO program. While his shot looks like a work in progress, Beauchamp’s edge is finishing at the rim.

A former four-star prospect, Beauchamp is tailor-fit to Tom Thibodeau’s defensive-oriented, team-first style of play.

His path from JUCO to carving out a G League Ignite program after foregoing college tells an interesting story of perseverance. He dominated the Northwest Athletic Conference with Yakima Valley College averaging 30.7 points on 52.5% shooting (39.8% from 3, 76.8% from the free throw line), 10.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.1 blocks.

The rangy wingman is a great rebounder for his position and is willing to do all the dirty work. An area of concern is his limited shot creation skills. But he plays well off the ball and his high basketball IQ makes him a solid rotation piece in the NBA.

If the Knicks miss out on trading up and the prospects they have at No. 11, Beauchamp will be an interesting trade-down candidate.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Jiri Prochazka survives and submits Glover Teixiera at UFC 275

Jiri Prochazka

In the main event of UFC 275, the light heavyweight title was on the line. Glover Teixeira (33-7) was looking to defend his title for the first time when he took on the surging Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1).

A few years ago, things were not looking great for Glover Teixeira in the UFC. He had been viciously knocked out by Rumble Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, and decisioned by Corey Anderson. The dream of Teixeira being a UFC champion was quickly fading.

However, he didn’t give up. On the heels of his grappling, Teixeira rattled off five straight wins to earn a shot at Jan Blachowicz. Ultimately, he was able to submit Blachowicz and became the light heavyweight champion at UFC 267 last October.

Ahead of UFC 275, many already considered Jiri Prochazka to be the best light heavyweight in the world. Prochazka has won 12 fights in a row leading up to UFC 275. In his two UFC appearances, he’s looked sensational knocking out Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes.

UFC 275 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 275 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Prochazka immediately takes the center and starts working feints. High kick attempt from Teixeira and he throws a big body kick.

Huge low kick lands for the challenger. Big body shot from Teixeira and that had to earn some respect. Teixeira gets to a single leg takedown and Prochazka is showing some good balance here, but Teixeira secures the takedown.

Teixeira settles into guard and he starts working his ground and pound. He pushes him up to the cage and Teixeira is working his ground and pound. Prochazka tries to get to his feet, but Teixeira gets his back briefly.

A scramble and Teixeira now has side-control. Beautiful spin from Prochazka and he’s back on his feet. Huge body kick from the challenger lands. Now the champion is coming back with big shots.

Another single leg trips Prochazka and Teixeira is right into mount. One minute to work and the challenger is in deep trouble here. Big elbows from Teixeira and Prochazka rolls. Teixeira gets his back, but he’s pretty high and Prochazka escapes.

Prochazka gets on top and starts landing bombs to end the round. Great opening frame from Teixeira at UFC 275.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 275 and Prochazka has to keep this fight standing. They touch gloves and here we go. Heavy pressure from Teixeira and Prochazka circles. Big jab from Prochazka lands.

Prochazka lands some really clean shots and Teixeira is walking through them at the moment. Body kick from Teixeira lands. Teixeira is rocked by Prochazka and the challenger is all over him here.

Uppercuts and knees. Teixeira getting desperate here but can’t get the takedown. Two huge knees from Prochazka lands. Teixeira goes for another takedown, but he can’t get it. Two minutes left in the round and Teixeira looks like he’s got his legs.

Huge shots from Prochazka lands and he’s all over Teixeira here. However, Prochazka slips and now it’s Teixeira who is all over him with one minute left in the round. Side-control for Teixeira with 50 seconds left.

Big elbow from the champion lands. Teixeira works his way to the mount and lands huge elbows to close the round. A huge cut opens on Prochazka and that round could have gone either way at UFC 275.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 275 and if Prochazka gets taken down in this round, he might not make it to the fourth. Both men look pretty fresh to start the third. Wild exchange and Teixeira goes for a takedown but can’t get it.

Flying knee from Prochazka and he lands two clean left hands behind it. Both men trade low kicks in the center. Long jab lands for Prochazka. Huge combination from Prochazka and Teixeira is hurt.

However, Teixeira gets a single leg and gets Prochazka down. Prochazka gets right back up and he pushes Teixeira against the fence. Big elbows from Prochazka. Huge hook to the body from Prochazka and Teixeira gets a body lock.

Prochazka is landing at will here and Teixeira is getting desperate. Teixeira shoots but it’s Prochazka gets top position. Prochazka is all over him going for the finish and the referee is watching closely.

Big shots from Prochazka and Teixeira is bloodied and beaten here in the third. Prochazka goes for a choke and Teixeira slips out. Teixeira now is on top and he’s in the guard looking to land big elbows.

Huge elbows from the champion. Ten seconds left in the round and now the champion is doing damage. Clearly Prochazka’s round at UFC 275.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at UFC 275 and this fight is insane. Prochazka light on his feet to start the fourth. Huge right hand from Teixeira and now he’s the aggressor. Big body shot lands for Prochazka and he lands a body kick behind it.

Uppercut from the challenger lands. Left straight lands for Prochazka and now Teixeira gets a takedown. Immediately in side-control and this is Teixeira’s world. Teixeira is trying to get to the mount here.

He gets to the mount and he’s starting to rain down big shots. Teixeira is looking for an arm-triangle chock from the mount. Prochazka is just holding here trying to prevent the choke. Teixeira gets it and he’s locking it in.

However, Prochazka slips out and he gets top position. Big shots landing from Prochazka and he settles into the top position. Teixeira scrambles and he gets top position and briefly gets the back. However, Prochazka reverses and now he’s on top.

Goodness gracious this fight is inane. Big shots from Prochazka ends the round but I think the champion is up 3-1 at UFC 275.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 275 and this has been an instant classic. They embrace to start the final round and here we go. Jab from Prochazka starts the striking but a nice combination from Teixeira.

Teixeira hurts Prochazka badly with a massive right hand. Prochazka is out on his feet and Teixeira goes for the guillotine. However, Prochazka slips out and he ends up on top. After regaining his composure, he lets Teixeira up and they are back to striking.

More big shots from from the champion. Halfway through the round and both men are exhausted and hurt, but Teixeira is looking good here. Big shots from the champion and Prochazka is just eating them.

Teixeira goes for a takedown and he gets it and goes right to the mount. Big elbows from the champion. Prochazka uses the fence and now he gets top position with one minute to work. Big shots now coming from the challenger.

Out of no where Prochazka secures a rear naked choke and Teixeira is forced to tap. On the brink of defeat, Jiri Prochazka is the UFC light heavyweight champion.

Jiri Prochazka def. Glover Teixeira by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 5

Valentina Shevchenko edges Taila Santos at UFC 275

In co-main event of UFC 275, the women’s flyweight title was on the line. The undisputed queen made her return as Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) was looking to add another ruby to her title as she defended against Brazil’s Taila Santos (19-1).

For Santos, she rides a four-fight winning streak into UFC 275. She was introduced to UFC fans via Dana White’s Contender Series. At the time, she was unbeaten and she was given a contract. Unfortunately, she lost her debut by split decision.

That said, she’s been perfect since. In her last two fights, she’s picked up big wins over Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Wood. The Wood win was very impressive as she submitted her in the first round.

I’ve long held the belief that UFC flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko is the best fighter in the world. She’s the best pound-for-pound and she’s been flawless at 125. She’s defended her title six times and she was looking to make tonight just another night at the office.

UFC 275 Recap

Round 1

The UFC flyweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Shevchenko immediately takes the center and opens with a leg kick. Superwoman punch for Shevchenko just misses the mark. Another big low kick from the champion.

Beautiful check right hook from the champion as Santos comes in. Low kick from Shevchenko who is landing early here at UFC 275. Low kick from the challenger is checked by Shevchenko. Spinning back kick just misses for Shevchenko.

Santos blitzes forward and the two end up in a clinch. Shevchenko immediately gets the dominant position and pushes Santos against the fence. Knee to the body from the champion. Another knee from Shevchenko who also secures double underhooks.

Shoulder strikes from Shevchenko here in the clinch. Shevchenko goes for a throw but slips and Santos gets on her back. Santos immediately locks in the body triangle and she’s going for the rear naked choke. Oh my goodness this is crazy.

Shevchenko remaining composed her and she’s actually landing big shots while Santos is on her back. The round comes to a close and lean towards the champion at UFC 275.

Round 2

The champion looks focused on the second round begins at UFC 275. Big combination from Shevchenko and she’s pushing forward here. Low kick from Shevchenko and she follows it with a huge 1-2.

They clinch and Santos lands a nice knee. Santos gets the dominant position and pushes Shevchenko against the fence. A nice trip from Santos and she lands the takedown. Shevchenko immediately starts working attacks off her back, but huge moment for Santos.

Shevchenko almost locks in a gogoplata, but Santos fights through it and keeps the top position. Two minutes left in the round and Santos is on her way to winning two straight rounds against the best in the world.

Santos isn’t doing anything here but laying on the champion and the referee stands them up. Low kick from Shevchenko lands. Huge body kick from Shevchenko. Shevchenko gets a takedown and there’s a scramble yet Santos ends up on top. The round comes to a close and it’s tied at UFC 275.

Round 3

Entering the third and Santos isn’t being exciting, but she’s being very effective at UFC 275. Leg kick from Shevchenko to start the third. Santos charges and eats a check right hook. Big straight down the middle lands for Shevchenko.

On the feet, this fight isn’t that close, but Shevchenko has to keep it standing. Spinning back kick from Shevchenko and a nice jab behind it. 1-2 from the champion lands. Another low kick from Shevchenko and Shevchenko gets a quick takedown, but Santos pops right back up.

Low kick from Shevchenko lands. Halfway through the round and this is the best round so far for the champion. They end up in another clinch and Santos pushes Shevchenko against the fence.

Santos gets a big takedown and she gets the back of Shevchenko. Shevchenko is trying to shake off Santos, but she’s doing a good job of holding the top position. Santos is very close on a rear naked choke here with thirty seconds left in the round.

The round is going to come to a close and I think this one is likely going to Santos as well at UFC 275.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at UFC 275 and Shevchenko is clearly down here. Big low kick and a left straight lands for Shevchenko. Another big combination from Shevchenko lands. A huge head kick lands from Shevchenko as well.

A clash of heads has nearly closed the eye of Santos. She’s clearly damaged here and Shevchenko sees the weakness and she’s going after her. Big shots from the champion. Huge left straight from the champion lands.

Body kick from Shevchenko and the champion is really pouring it on here. Another big combination from Shevchenko lands. The champion slows her pace just a little and Santos holds the center. She seems like a sitting duck at this point.

Another big combination finished with a head kick from Shevchenko. Both fighters exchange kicks in the center. Laser focus from Shevchenko who lands another clean combination. All respect to the toughness of Taila Santos here as her right eye is nearly closed.

Body kick from Shevchenko. 1-2 lands for Shevchenko and Santos lands a body kick. Shevchenko gets taken down near the end of the fourth round. Clearly Shevchenko’s round, but this is very close entering the final round at UFC 275.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 275 and Taila Santos could be on the verge of shocking the world. Low kick from her opens the round. Massive combination from Shevchenko and she snaps the head back of Santos.

Big body kick from the champion. The champion is unloading on Santos but Santos gets the takedown and she immediately gets the back of the champion. If Santos can maintain this top position, she’s going to win this fight.

However, Shevchenko escapes out the back and they are striking. Three minutes to go and this is anyone’s fight. Low kick from the champion and she lands a big combination up top. Both fighters exchange low kicks then Shevchenko shoots for a takedown.

Shevchenko gets top position and falls into half guard with two minutes to go. Santos is working off her back trying to reverse the position, but Shevchenko is staying heavy here. Shoulder strikes from Shevchenko.

90 seconds left in the round and the champion is on her way to winning the final frame at UFC 275. One minute left in the round and Shevchenko is still holding the top position but not a lot of action is happening.

Shevchenko is going to ride out the rest of the round on top. She wins the final round without question and I think she just did enough to retain her UFC title.

Valentina Shevchenko def. Taila Santos by Decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)