UFC Fight Night: Defending Champion Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia


Photo Courtesy of Jeff Bottari via Getty Images

Four Time Winning Champion Valentina Shevchenko defends her title against Jennifer Maia. She has 20 MMA Pro wins along with the Highest Striking Defense in UFC Flyweight History with 71.2%.

November 21,  UFC fight Shevchenko and Maia went head to head for the CO-main event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Born in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Valentina Shevchenko has an MMA record of 19-3 while having the highest striking accuracy of 55.4% in UFC Flyweight History. Brazilian Challenger and Black Belt in Muay Thai, Jennifer Maia steps up to face a competitive opponent. Her MMA Record comes in at a 18-6-1 with the Sixth Highest Striking Rate in UFC Flyweight History, of 4.08 Signature Strikes per minute. The 32-year-old flyweight fighters rank almost exactly in their weight (124.5) and height (5’4”-5’5”), they show their skills in the octagon.

Round 1 Fight!

First Round starts, Shevchenko and Maia are on their toes. Testing the waters, Shevchenko starts with a low kick to see Maia’s reaction. With no sudden movement, she strikes a high kick to Maia, as Maia counters with a 1-2 straight punch. 20 seconds, in a quick exchange between the two fighters as Shevchenko goes forward to take down Maia in the first minute of the first round. Holding her down, Maia transitions into a butterfly hook on Shevchenko’s, while holding onto her arms in a double over-hook position. Shevchenko gives a couple shoulder strikes as Maia is pinned to the ground. Trying to control Shevchenko’s head, Shevchenko’s right arm gets released introducing some punches towards her opponent’s head. This becomes a repetitive routine for both the fighters until the last second of round one, Shevchenko gains points against Maia.

Maia’s Redemption

Round two begins, Shevchenko comes in with a back-body kick towards Maia, but the Brazilian Black Belt denies. Another even quicker exchange with both fighters as Shevchenko attempts a second takedown on Maia. She pins her to the cage, forcing Maia to the ground. Maia tries to regain balance but falls on her back quickly. She gains balance back on her feet, restraining Shevchenko’s arm’s and shoulders. With a knee to the body, Maia pins the former champion to the side of the wall. Shevchenko fights with a couple left hand strikes but Maia holds her tight with two underhooks. Valentina breaks free giving  a knee to her challenger, getting pinned again. Maia hooks her leg under and brings down Shevchenko for her first takedown of the night. She controls her movements pinning her head to the side of the cage, remaining on top for the end of the round.

Round 3

The intensity heightens going into round three. Shuffling back and forth, Shevchenko strikes first with a 1-2 combination. She moves forward with two good left-hand strikes, but Maia counters back. One minute down, Valentina gives a body kick. Shevchenko then  goes in with a head kick and a quick 1-2 combination right after. Looking  tired, Maia counters,  but the former champ dodges the bullet. Shevchenko tries for another 1-2 combination hit and ducks underneath Maia, hooking her right foot under Maia’s right leg, taking her down once again. Valentina Shevchenko has  side control over Maia. Maia on the ground for a couple seconds, she begins to work into her butterfly position. Elevating up, she pushes Shevchenko against the cage. 10 seconds remaining, Shevchenko brings her down for the second and last takedown of the round.

Shevchenko Takes the Lead

Onto the fourth round, Valentina with a left-hand strike’s hard towards Maia and she tries to counter with a hook. Maia goes in with a 1-2 combo and a quick low body kick towards Shevchenko’s legs. Shevchenko gives another hard strike as her opponent dodges the punch.   Maia tries to counter each after each strike, but is denied. Pivots and turns exchanged, Shevchenko fires left strike- right hook combination towards Maia. Strikes and combos fly through the air. Two minutes into the fourth round, Shevchenko successfully takes down Maia with a body slam near the side of the octagon. Attempting to gain control of her arms, Maia begins to grow tired from the rapid punches coming towards her. Shevchenko hooks from the back-pinning Maia throughout the whole round. A 3-1 lead awarded to Shevchenko.

Claiming the Title

Last and final round of their fight. Shevchenko goes in with a backhand to Maia. Maia takes the punch but rams Shevchenko into the cage. Valentina finds an opening away from  Maia’s grasp. She gives a body kick to her opponent, followed by a  1-2 strike combination. No break needed, Shevchenko goes in with forceful strikes blinding Maia from an opening. The Brazilian turns her opponent towards the cage again. Holding her tight, she spins out of her pin attempting to bring Shevchenko down.

With little control, Valentina breaks away quickly. Attempting to Pin Shevchenko again, the defending champion lifts her from position and pushes Maia off into the center, as she bleeds from her ear. Last 10 seconds, Shevchenko gives a back hand followed by a 1-2 combination. Maia charges for another takedown, round. Judges announced by a unanimous decision 49-46, Valentina Shevchenko won. Defending her UFC Flyweight Champion title, she celebrates with her signature dance.