Valentina Shevchenko defended her flyweight championship for the seventh time at UFC 275 on Saturday in Singapore, however her aura of invincibility may need taken a success in doing so.
Shevchenko (23-3) edged Brazilian contender Taila Santos (19-2) by cut up determination within the co-main occasion of UFC 275. Two judges scored the 125-pound battle for Shevchenko by way of scores of 49-46 and 48-47, whereas a 3rd had it 48-47 for Santos. It was the closest Shevchenko has come, by far, to a defeat since she moved to the 125-pound weight class from 135 kilos in 2018.
“While you’ve completed a battle, each time you discover one thing to enhance,” Shevchenko mentioned. “That is the championship mindset. Each time, you go farther and farther. I did every thing. I left my coronary heart on this Octagon. I can inform everybody, followers of MMA, I left my coronary heart in right here.”
A large betting favourite, Shevchenko was confronted with adversity from the very first spherical. She made a mistake in an early clinch, when she gave up her again throughout a takedown try alongside the fence. Santos, 28, capitalized on the error by locking in a physique triangle. She threatened Shevchenko with a number of rear-naked choke makes an attempt, however Shevchenko confirmed good protection.
The battle remained extremely aggressive within the second and third rounds. Santos scored a number of takedowns and confirmed good grappling capability within the scrambles. Over the course of the battle, she racked up 8 minutes, 49 seconds of management time, nonetheless, her offense was pretty restricted in these positions. Shevchenko clearly landed extra offensive strikes, however Santos’ capability to regulate positions was shocking, given Shevchenko’s normal dominance there.
“It was what I anticipated,” Shevchenko mentioned. “I anticipated a heavier opponent. In MMA, each pound counts.”
Within the fourth spherical, Santos’ proper eye almost swelled shut as a consequence of an unintended conflict of heads on the toes. The swelling appeared to trouble Santos somewhat, and she or he additionally appeared considerably fatigued within the later rounds. Shevchenko began to land heavier mixtures and secured a key takedown within the fifth spherical to seal the victory.
For Shevchenko, of Kyrgyzstan, it marks her ninth consecutive win, the longest lively successful streak of any UFC feminine fighter. She passes former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s document of six consecutive title defenses in a girls’s weight class.
Santos noticed a four-fight successful streak snapped.