Valentina Shevchenko was made to work much harder than expected to defend her flyweight title against Brazil’s Jennifer Maia, but the Kyrgyz phenom got the job done on a UFC 255 card that also featured a win for sister Antonina.
Shevchenko earned a fourth straight defense of her 125lbs crown but it was far from plain sailing for the 32-year-old.
Maia frustrated the champion as few others have done at featherweight inside the octagon – not least in a second frame which the Brazilian clearly won by taking Shevchenko to the mat and ending the round on top.
Shevchenko picked up the pace from there on, earning an ultimately convincing decision victory 49-46 on all three scorecards, but it was a game and gritty effort from Maia, who had entered the contest as one of the largest underdogs in UFC history. (RT)