UFC 255: Shevchenko vs Maia Preview & Prediction
By Cathal Geeney
Valentina Shevchenko is looking to extend her UFC flyweight title defence streak to four as she locks horns with Jennifer Maia at UFC 255.
Shevchenko is one of the most talented athletes to compete in the history of women’s MMA. With an extensive kickboxing background, Valentina fires off crisp, straight punches and powerful kicks. Holding a Muay Thai, southpaw stance, the Kyrgyzstani national controls the octagon.
Shevchenko can push the pace or equally rely on her feints and speed to force her opposite number to throw first, and counter with volume and precision. The Bullet has also developed a powerful ground game where she is comfortable landing takedowns, controlling top position and inflicting powerful ground and pound strikes.
Jennifer Maia will have her work cut out for her if she is to become the next flyweight champion. The Brazilian is quite fortunate to be fighting for a title given that she has won once and lost once in her last two fights.
Maia is light on her feet and looks to move in and out of range, firing off combinations and constantly moving her head before getting out of the danger zone. However, it is going to be a huge challenge to get into range against Shevchenko without getting hit in the process.
Maia is a Brazilian Black Belt and coming off an impressive submission victory over Joanne Calderwood, so confidence will be high as she aims to cause a major surprise.
If Maia were to somehow get a victory on Saturday night, this would be one of the biggest shocks of the year. Her best hope would likely be to catch Shevchenko in a submission. However, I can not see this happening, with Shevchenko having never been submitted. I expect Valentina to dominate on the feet, prevent any takedowns and cruise to victory.