Valentina Shevchenko used the accuracy of her Muay Thai striking and countering game to earn a unanimous decision win over favoured Holly Holm at UFC on FOX 20 in Chicago.
Holm started out quick, knocking down Shevchenko with a left hook in the first round. But Valentina recovered, using her strikes to keep the fight in her range and forcing Holm to stay on the outside.
Shevchenko converted 87 of 185 significant strikes for a 47% connection rate, almost doubling Holm’s 54 of 211 and a 25% hit rate.
The judges scored it 49-46, 49-46, 49-46.
The win could set up a rematch between Shevchenko and current champion Amanda Nunes.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Jason Knight and Jim Alers secured Fight-of-the-Night honours while Eddie Wineland and Felice Herrig earned performance awards. Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.
In case you missed the prelims:
LUIS HENRIQUE DEF DMITRY SMOLIAKOV VIA SUBMISSION R2 3:58
JASON KNIGHT DEF JIM ALERS VIA SPLIT-DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
ALEX OLIVEIRA DEF JAMES MOONTASRI VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
MICHEL PRAZARES DEF JC COTTRELL VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
KAMARU USMAN DEF ALEXANDER YAKOVLEV (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
DARREN ELKINS DEF GODOFREDO PEPEY VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
EDDIE WINELAND DEF FRANKIE SAENZ VIA TKO R3 1:54
Kenai Andrews checks in:
FELICE HERRIG VS KAILLIN CURRAN
WINNER: FELICE HERRIG VIA SUBMISSION R1 1:59
ANDREWS PREDICTION: FELICE HERRIG VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Andrews: Herrig look energized, working quickly to take Curran’s back and lock in the rear-naked choke. Curran tried to fight it off, but Herrig’s excellent performance was just too much.
Andrews prediction: Felice Herring via unanimous decision.
FRANCIS NGANNOU VS BOJAN MIHAJLOVIC
WINNER: FRANCIS NGANNOU VIA TKO R1 1:34
ANDREWS PREDICTION: FRANCIS NGANNOU VIA TKO
Andrews: This one was over quickly once Ngannou got a hold of Mihajlovic. Good win.
#6 EDSON BARBOZA VS GILBERT MELENDEZ
WINNER: EDSON BARBOZA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27,30-27,29-28)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: EDSON BARBOZA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Andrews: Good fight! Both fighters had their moments, but Barboza began to pull way with those vicious leg kicks that limited Melendez in the second and third rounds. Only Gibert’s boxing wobbled Barboza briefly. Great performances by both.
#2 HOLLY HOLM VS VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO
WINNER: VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: HOLLY HOLM VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Andrews: Valentina forced Holly Holm to fight her fight. She countered effectively and piled up the points countering Holm and making her miss a lot of her strikes. Excellent win for Shevchenko.