Valentina Shevchenko has won her last five fights, including a TKO victory over Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247 in February.
Valentina Shevchenko is one of the most well rounded fighters in the world. She steps into Saturday’s UFC 255 co-main event looking to defend her women’s flyweight title for the fourth time, against Jennifer Maia.
Before you think it’s a typo, these MMA odds are real. In one of the most lopsided UFC fights in recent memory, Maia is a +800 underdog with Shevchenko favoured at -1450. It’s MMA and anything can happen. Maia is the No. 3 women’s flyweight contender for a reason and being this heavily discounted likely only fuels her to go that much harder for the upset.
Valentina Shevchenko UFC 255 Odds
In the last 10 years Amanda Nunes is the only fighter that has been able to solve Shevchenko (19-3 MMA record) and that says a lot and she hasn’t dropped a fight since an extremely close split decision loss to Nunes at UFC 215 three years ago.
In the women’s flyweight division Shevchenko has the best striking differential (+2.07) and the best significant strike defence (71.2 per cent) all-time. She is a fast striker, averaging 3.06 significant strikes per minute, but is also comfortable on the ground, averaging 2.09 takedowns per 15 minutes on 54 per cent accuracy. There are no real holes in her game, which gives her the opportunity to dictate how the fight is fought. On the ground or on her feet, she’s as dangerous as they come.
Jennifer Maia UFC 255 Odds
Despite two losses in her last five fights since joining the UFC in 2018, Maia (17-6-1 MMA record) shouldn’t be overlooked in this fight. She is coming off a solid first round submission win over Joanne Calderwood in August that earned her a Performance of the Night bonus.
Maia is a strong striker and averages 4.11 significant strikes per minute compared to Shevchenko’s average of 3.06. In past fights if the striking game is working for her she is also not afraid to mix in kicks and boxing combinations. Maia’s grappling is sound and she can throw different submissions at her opponents. She’ll likely need to rely on her strong power to have a chance at the title.
Shevchenko vs. Maia UFC 255 Prediction
This fight is going to be closer than many people anticipate. Maia’s game has improved significantly since she joined the UFC, but likely not enough to dethrone the champ. Shevchenko can win any way she wants, but with striking being Maia’s biggest strength, look for Shevchenko to take the fight to the ground for a first round submission.