The first of three title fights at UFC 261 featured the women’s flyweight title. The undisputed champion Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) was taking on the former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-8). This title fight was flying under the radar but was massively anticipated on my end.
Jessica Andrade is finally competing in her natural weight class. When she broke into the UFC, she fought at 135 pounds because that was the only option. She was massively undersized and when the strawweight division opened, she dropped 20 pounds.
Andrade rose to the top and became the UFC‘s strawweight champion. However, the weight cut was always extremely difficult and after back-to-back losses at 115 pounds, Andrade decided to move up. In her first fight at flyweight, she stopped the number one contender in the first round.
While defeating the top contender is impressive, the UFC‘s flyweight champion is a different animal. The only person who has gotten the better of Shevchenko since she joined the UFC was Amanda Nunes. Nunes did it twice although, I thought Valentina won the second time.
Both of those fights were at 135 pounds. When the UFC opened the flyweight division, it was immediately known that it was going to be her weight class. Shevchenko was looking for her fifth successful title defense tonight at UFC 261.
UFC 261 Recap
The UFC flyweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Andrade looked to open the striking with low kicks, but was out of range. Shevchenko opens her striking with some strong kicks. The UFC champion lands a clean counter as Andrade looks to press forward.
A hard 1-2 lands for Shevchenko. Body kick lands for Jessica Andrade. Shevchenko gets a body lock off an Andrade kick and takes Andrade down immediately. Andrade pops back up to her feet, but the flyweight champion drags her right back down. Again, Andrade gets back up.
Shevchenko lets her go and throws a headkick on the break. A vicious combination lands for Valentina Shevchenko and the two go to a clinch. Andrade presses Shevchenko against the fence and starts working body shots. However, Shevchenko just uses her strength to throw Andrade down to the ground.
The UFC champion tries to lock in a rear-naked choke, but Andrade defends well. Dominance thus far for Valentina Shevchenko. Andrade uses the fence to work her way back up. Shevchenko is heavy on the clinch pressure and takes Andrade down before the round ends. Dominant round one for the UFC champion.
The second round opens with some pressure from Andrade, but she’s popped with a couple of big shots from Shevchenko. The two clinch and the UFC champion slams Andrade to the ground. There is a massive strength difference between these two ladies and it’s very evident here in the first.
Shevchenko starts working her ground and pound on Andrade. Andrade tries to explode up and she works her way back to her feet. She pushes Shevchenko to the fence and tries to pick her up. However, the UFC champion wasn’t going anywhere.
Shevchenko gets Andrade back to the ground and ends up in the crucifix position. Massive elbows rain down from Valentina Shevchenko and Andrade is bloodied. The referee steps in and this one is over. Total domination from the champion.
Valentina Shevchenko def. Jessica Andrade by TKO – Round 2