UFC 275 has come and gone, but in the aftermath of the event, there’s a lot to dissect.
The Singapore-based card sizzled from start to finish, vastly exceeding what were, in some cases, comically low expectations. The main event light heavyweight title fight between Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka was one for the ages, and while Prochazka captured gold with a late fifth-round submission, he was on his way to losing the fight.
42-year old Glover Teixeira, meanwhile, showed ample heart, but one bad decision late cost him. The veteran says he’s not done yet, and is already campaigning for a rematch. That might be a tough sell, but then again, maybe not, given how electrifying their first encounter turned out to be.
There are a lot of other takeaways from UFC 275, however, beyond “Teixeira vs. Prochazka was really good,” so let’s break it down a little.
Valentina Shevchenko Reminds Us That She’s Mortal
Perhaps the biggest surprise coming out of Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos is that the champ retained her title.
Through the opening three rounds of the UFC 275 co-main event, the continuance of Shevchenko’s reign was very much called into question. Challenger Taila Santos had claimed ahead of the fight that she had found a few holes in the seemingly bulletproof Shevchenko’s game— and through three rounds, she proved her case. Every time the champ closed the distance, Santos had the upper hand in the clinch game. She appeared to have a strength advantage, a rare sight against Shevchenko, who had previously competed as a bantamweight.
Perhaps more troubling, Shevchenko struggled to adjust her game plan. She continued to attempt throws to get the fight to the ground, a move that had served her well in the past— but that backfired against Santos each and every time it was employed. All of a sudden, Shevchenko appeared to be a mere mortal, after carrying with her an aura of invincibility the past few years.
This wasn’t the Jennifer Maia fight, where it was considered shocking to see Shevchenko lose a single round. The end result of Shevchenko vs. Santos was a split decision, with one judge awarding Shevchenko a very questionable 49-46, while the other two scorecards came in at 48-47— albeit for different fighters.
The turning point in the fight came due to an accidental clash of heads, leaving Santos with one eye swollen shut (later revealed to be a broke orbital). That allowed Shevchenko to piece her up, and barely escape Singapore with a win— while reminding us that she, too, is a mere mortal at the end of the day.
The outcome of the fight may inspire two things: an eventual rematch with Santos, and the rest of the women’s flyweight division to circle, smelling blood in the water. It will be interesting to see how Shevchenko responds in her next fight.