Valentina Shevchenko edges Taila Santos at UFC 275

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 28: Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan celebrates her win over Julianna Pena in the women's Bantamweight division during the UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center on January 28, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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)