Valentina Shevchenko
Bullet

Kyrgyzstan

Remains Flyweight Queen
FlyweightUFC
November 21, 2020
Shevchenko successfully defended her UFC Women's Flyweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Jennifer Maia via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) at UFC 255 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
This was not one of Valentina's better performances and she still won going away. Shevchenko looked a bit slow on the feet until the final minutes of the fight, but he grappling carried her to the victory. Valentina repeatedly grabbed Maia's head and forced her to the mat. There was nothing technical about it, but Shevchenko's upper-body strength generally did the trick. The one round Valentina lost was was the second. In that one, Maia managed to control the pace of the fight along the fence and on the mat. Still, Shevchenko was never in any sort of legitimate trouble. We've said it time and time again, but it's going to take some sort of Herculean effort to get the better off Shevchenko at 125 pounds. Former UFC Women's Strawweight Champion Jessica Andrade would appear to be next in line but a lot of people aren't going to take a Shevchenko fight seriously until she and current UFC Women's Bantamweight/Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes inevitably meet for a third time.
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To defend title at UFC 255
FlyweightUFC
August 7, 2020
Shevchenko (leg) will officially make her next title defense against Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 on Nov. 21, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
This is a fight that has essentially been locked in since Maia's victory over Joanne Calderwood in Las Vegas on Aug. 1, but now it appears a date is locked in. Despite coming off injury, Shevchenko is the superior fighter in all aspects of the game and should enter this one as a heavy favorite. She'll also own height and reach advantages.
Defending title against Maia
FlyweightUFC
August 2, 2020
Shevchenko (leg) will defend her flyweight title against Jennifer Maia at an unspecified UFC event, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Maia took down Joanne Calderwood during Round 1 at UFC Vegas 5 on Saturday, and Dana White wasted little time confirming the new title matchup. Calderwood previously lined up to challenge for the belt in June, but the bout was postponed after Shevchenko underwent surgery to address a torn MCL. Shevchenko was targeting a return in late August, so she should be healthy in plenty of time whenever her title defense is scheduled. "Bullet" is expected to be a heavy favorite over Maia given her level of domination over the flyweight division.
Targeting late-August return
FlyweightUFC
April 16, 2020
Shevchenko (leg) hopes to rebook her title defense against Joanne Calderwood for late August, MMA Junkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Shevchenko reportedly wants the fight to take place on the "Fight Island" that is currently being constructed by UFC president Dana White. She was originally scheduled to defend her title at UFC 251 in Australia, but an MCL tear caused her to withdraw from the event in late March. She is three weeks removed from surgery to repair the issue, so Shevchenko still has a way to go in her recovery, but there's nothing at this point to suggest the late-August return isn't realistic.
Tending to leg injury
FlyweightUFC
April 1, 2020
Shevchenko confirmed Tuesday that a leg injury will prevent her from taking on Joanne Calderwood in a flyweight title fight June 6 at UFC 251 in Perth, Marc Raimondi of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Calderwood first broke the news that Shevchenko was forced to withdraw from the event, with the latter providing an explanation on the matter hours later. Shevchenko indicated that he sustained the leg injury while defending her flyweight belt against Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247 in February and hasn't fully healed in the weeks following that fight. The 32-year-old hopes to be 100 percent healthy by the end of August, with a matchup with Calderwood likely still awaiting her.
Title defense postponed by injury
FlyweightUFC
March 31, 2020
Shevchenko is dealing with an undisclosed injury and is no longer in line to face Joanne Calderwood in a flyweight fight June 6 at UFC 251 in Perth, Danny Segura of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
The coronavirus pandemic had already put UFC 251 at risk of postponement, but Shevchenko's existing injury is what will prevent her from defending her flyweight belt in June. Calderwood relayed Tuesday in an Instagram Live session that she's hopeful the fight is rebooked in either July or August, but any new date for the bout will be contingent on Shevchenko's recovery from the injury in addition to the state of the worldwide health crisis. In a later report from ESPN MMA, it was implied that Shevchenko was dealing with a leg injury suffered in her last title defense against Katlyn Chookagian. It's expected to be fully healed for approximately an August rebooking.