Tomorrow night in the UFC 255 co-main event, we will see one of the best pure martial artists in the world. Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) will take center stage as she defends her UFC flyweight title against top contender, Jennifer Maia (18-6-1).
When you think of the best fighters in the UFC man or woman, you have to think of Valentina Shevchenko. The UFC champion from Kyrgyzstan has no holes in her game. Her striking is world class and her grappling is world class.
Not too mention that she has a killer instinct that is only rivaled by Amanda Nunes. Nunes is widely considered to be the greatest female fighter of all time. The only two true losses Shevchenko has had in her career were to Nunes who is much bigger than she is.
That being said, both of their fights were close and a lot of people thought Shevchenko won the second fight. After the second loss to Nunes, the UFC started the flyweight division which is perfect for Shevchenko. The rest is simply history.
She has stormed through and dominated every opponent in her way at 125 pounds. Whether it’s striking or grappling, Shevchenko hasn’t really been challenged in her flyweight career. Jennifer Maia is looking to be the first person to do that.
Jennifer Maia earned this title shot by defeating top contender JoJo Calderwood. Calderwood was supposed to get the next shot at the title, but Shevchenko was injured. Maia stepped up and submitted Calderwood in the first round to take her UFC title shot.
Maia has improving striking skills, but she really shines on the mat. The Jiu Jitsu blackbelt has a very good top game, and in her last fight, she showed just how good she is off of her back.
UFC 255 Prediction
You can’t get more lopsided than the odds of tomorrow night’s UFC flyweight title fight. Shevchenko is closing at nearly -1700 on the current betting lines. There’s a good reason why she’s such a big favorite tomorrow.
The only area of the fight that Maia might have the advantage is on pure Jiu Jitsu skills. That’s not saying that she’s better when you factor in all of the other aspects of grappling like wrestling and clinch work.
In reality, I can’t see any scenario where Jennifer Maia walks out tomorrow night the UFC flyweight champion. The only way it happens is if somehow Shevchenko makes a giant mistake and gets caught in a submission.
Maia has improved striking skills, but I think she’s going to get lit up on the feet. I also don’t believe she has the wrestling skills to get the fight to the ground. I think this is going to be a one-sided beating for however long it lasts.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by TKO – Round 3