A deeper look into what may be a closer fight than many fans may be anticipating.
Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade will be meeting in the cage at UFC 261 to fight for the Undisputed 125 pound Women’s Championship. With Shevchenko being an extremely dominant champion, many fans and analysts have picked her to win the fight (including me); however, there may be more to this fight than what meets the eye.
Andrade recently moved up to the 125 pound division in search of more success, and it seems to have worked out quite well. In her debut at 125, she fought and dispatched a very high ranked contender in Katlyn Chookagian. In that fight, we saw how Andrade’s power is still a big threat to anyone who stands opposite of her. It may have even improved, which just makes her that much more of an issue for any female 125-er. Her power is also accompanied by some speed and technique, it’s not all just haymakers. All of this combined makes a very dangerous contender and should not be overlooked at all.
On the other side, you have the Undisputed Champion Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko hasn’t just been the champ, she’s been a DOMINANT champ. Valentina has not lost a fight since September 2017, and that was against the greatest female fighter on Earth (Amanda Nunes). Valentina’s striking and grappling are both amazing, especially her striking. Valentina trains out of Tiger Muay Thai, and it shows in all of her performances. She’s truly what I’d describe as a “spring”, she’s always on her toes and has a very “bouncy” stance. Valentina is very fast and explosive, which perfectly correlates to her nickname “The Bullet”. She is what many fans consider the second best female fighter on the roster next to Amanda Nunes, and even believe she may be the only one who can pose a challenge right now to Amanda.
So with all of that said, I think this fight is being overlooked way more than it should right now. Andrade poses a real threat to Shevchenko but this doesn’t mean Shevchenko doesn’t have a chance. This should be an interesting clash of two interesting styles, and I believe it will be a fun watch on paper.
It will either be another exclamation mark on the dominance of the champion Valentina Shevchenko, or what may be the start of Andrade’s reign. It all goes down at UFC 261 on April 24th.