In what many look at as a restart of sorts to the UFC’s women flyweight division, Valentina Shevchenko topped Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the title at UFC 231.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko are two of the most talented women’s strikers of all time and after the rough start to the flyweight, tonight will give the 125-pound ranks a fresh start with their fight. Joanna is still looked at as one of the greatest champions in women’s history, having defended the title five times and looking fantastic doing it prior to her losses to Rose Namajunas. Valentina, on the other hand, was a razor close decision away from being champion at UFC 215 in her loss to Amanda Nunes.
The first round was a good one that showcased Valentina’s grappling skills. Many saw her having the advantage on the mat and she got the fight there early, landing some nice elbows from the top. However, Joanna made it to her feet, where they both had some success, with Joanna pushing the pressure and Valentina working in the clinch.
Round two saw some very good pressure fighting from Joanna for the majority of the round. Landing some kicks to the body and legs, she was landing most of the strikes coming forward. However, near the end of the round, one of her kicks was caught and Valentina took her down. Joanna returned to her feet but was then slammed down and Valentina controlled the rest of the round from there.
Rounds three and four were shining moments for Valentina, showcasing her grappling and her ability to land the harder shots. Valentina looked like she was just five minutes away from finally capturing a UFC title. She also looked like the stronger fighter by far. Through four rounds, Valentina was doing some great work against the former strawweight queen.
Round five looked much like the previous four, with Valentina slipping a lot of Joanna’s hard punches and being the stronger grappler by putting Joanna against the fence at will. Joanna tried hard to get the finish, and did some good work on the feet in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
At long last, Valentina Shevchenko is the UFC’s flyweight champion.
Valentina Shevchenko def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)