In the co-main event of UFC 255, the women’s flyweight title was on the line. Reigning champion, Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) was looking to continue her dominance at 125 pounds while Jennifer Maia (18-6-1) was looking to pull off the massive upset.
It truly doesn’t get much better than Valentina Shevchenko. The UFC‘s flyweight champion has virtually gone untouched in her career outside of her two losses to Amanda Nunes which were both close. At flyweight, her dominance has been astonishing.
Maia entered the evening as one of the biggest underdogs in a title fight in a very long time. UFC 255 was her chance to prove everyone wrong just as she did when she earned the title shot over JoJo Calderwood. Sure the odds were close, but Calderwood was still a favorite.
The fight was supposed to be a tune-up for Calderwood’s UFC title shot. Instead, Maia was able to submit her in the first round to take the title shot away from her. However, there was a much taller order in front of her tonight.
UFC 255 Recap: Shevchenko – Maia
As the first round of the UFC 255 co-main event of the evening got underway, Shevchenko immediately opened with big kicks. Shevchenko landed a big left hand then immediately used a headlock to land a takedown on Jennifer Maia.
The UFC champ landed some decent shots to the body from Maia’s guard, but the action was slow on the ground. Maia seemed content with just holding Shevchenko in place while the two were on the ground. Shevchenko then landed two very big elbows from the guard.
The champ’s pressure was very good from the guard. Maia appeared to be trying to raise her legs to attack a submission, but Shevchenko kept her in check. Limited action in the opening round but a dominant round for the champion.
As the second round got underway, the UFC flyweight champion opened with a massive spinning back kick. Shevchenko landed a brief takedown, but Maia used a scramble to get back to her feet in the opening 30 seconds.
Maia then pushed Shevchenko back against the fence and started throwing some knees to the body. Shevchenko couldn’t get her back off the fence in the second round and then Maia was able to land a takedown of her own.
Maia pressed the UFC champion against the fence while she was on the ground and she started landing shots. Shevchenko attempted to threaten with a few submissions, but nothing got close. A very dominant second round for the challenger.
As the third round of the UFC 255 co-main event got underway, Shevchenko landed a massive left straight in the opening seconds. Shevchenko really started opening up her striking in the opening minute of the third round.
Maia started to try to pressure Shevchenko, however, Shevchenko was doing a good job of keeping her at distance. Then Maia was able to grab ahold of the UFC champion and pushed her up against the fence again.
Shevchenko this time was able to push away and get back to striking range. Maia was starting to get lit up when the two were striking. The UFC champion landed a few massive shots then slammed Maia down with a takedown.
Shevchenko landed right into half guard and that is where the action slowed. Maia was able to get to butterfly guard and used it to get up to her feet. She then pushed Shevchenko back up to the fence. Decent moments for Maia but a clear round for Shevchenko.
Entering the fourth round, the UFC champion should be ahead 2-1 on the scorecards. Shevchenko opened the striking with a massive left that staggered Maia. However, Maia’s chin seemed to be holding up in this one.
Shevchenko stepped forward with a solid 1-2 and her speed was really showing in the fourth round. Maia’s striking seemed much slower than Valentina’s in the fourth round. The UFC champ then got a body lock and slammed Maia to the ground.
Shevchenko landed again in half guard and she started to go to work with shots. Maia was trying to defend, but Shevchenko was able to take her back. Maia was able to spin back but she ate a couple of shots for the effort.
Shevchenko continued to land shots while holding Maia in place on the ground. Shevchenko appeared to be looking for an arm-triangle, but she wasn’t able to land it. Another clear round for the champion.
As the final round got underway, Maia tried to push forward and land a takedown. She was able to push the UFC champion against the fence, but couldn’t get Shevchenko down in the first 30 seconds.
Shevchenko was able to reverse the position and back away to striking range. Shevchenko then landed a massive body kick and a brutal straight left. Maia was really starting to get lit up on the feet.
However, Shevchenko then engaged in the clinch and Maia was able to push her against the fence. Maia continued to try for takedowns, but Shevchenko was doing a fantastic job of staying on her feet.
Shevchenko was able to separate again and Maia looked busted up. The UFC champ was just picking Maia apart in the fifth round. Maia was game, but she was really wearing it in the final round.
Shevchenko landed a massive body kick as we entered the final minute. Both ladies landed some good shots in the final minute, but Shevchenko got the better of it. The fight closed with Shevchenko landing a couple of crisp shots.
Valentina Shevchenko def Jennifer Maia by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)