Many thought Jessica Andrade was going to be the biggest threat to Valentina Shevchenko’s title reign. The flyweight champion obviously had other ideas.
In a takedown heavy performance, Shevchenko tossed Andrade around the octagon in the opening round and then did the same in the second before moving into the crucifix position where she just unloaded a relentless barrage of punches and elbows. With Andrade trapped and just eating the strikes with no signs of escaping, the referee stepped into stop the fight with the end coming at 3:19 in the second round at UFC 261.
“I like to surprise people,” Shevchenko said about her win. “I can do everything. My plan was come into the octagon and destroy my opponent. I saw the blood. I knew I had to go harder, harder, harder to stop the fight.”
Like a sniper, Shevchenko was quick to use her striking accuracy to set the tone in the early exchanges while keeping Andrade on the end of her punches. The flyweight champion then mixed in a series of takedowns as she started to employ her suffocating grappling game as well.
All told, Shevchenko landed five takedowns in the opening round as Andrade was obviously down early as she went back to her corner looking to change the momentum as the fight moved forward.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, Shevchenko continued to dish out more of the same punishment with a series of powerful body lock takedowns that brought the fight crashing to the ground.
The final takedown led to Shevchenko moving into the crucifix where she didn’t stop throwing elbows until the referee could not allow Andrade to absorb any further punishment.
With this win, Shevchenko moves to 7-0 at flyweight in the UFC with five consecutive title defenses and another contender vanquished on Saturday night.
“Here I am, I’m ready for anyone,” Shevchenko said in a message to her division. “Everyone is asking to fight me, here I am. While my opponents try to figure out what is a weakness of mine, don’t waste your time. There is none.”