Women’s flyweight champion and pound-for-pound great Valentina Shevchenko (19-3, 6 KOs, 7 SUBs) will make her fourth title defense against veteran Jennifer Maia (18-6, 4 KOs, 5 SUBs) in the co-main event of UFC 255: Figueiredo vs. Perez on Saturday, November 21, 2020 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event men’s flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1, 9 KOs, 7 SUBs) will defend the 125-pound title against Alex Perez (24-5, 5 KOs, 7 SUBs). Let’s take a closer look at the matchup between Shevchenko and Maia and break down your best UFC online betting picks.
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Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko (19-3, 6 KOs, 7 SUBs)
There’s an easy argument to be made that no champion has a tighter grip on their respective belt than Valentina Shevchenko. Hell, the women’s flyweight division was created with the expectation that Bullet would be it’s queen. Ever since dropping to 125 pounds, the 32-year old has been unstoppable, dispatching every opponent in her path with relative ease. After beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk via decision, she KO’d Jessica Eye with a head kick, decision’d Liz Carmouche and TKO’d Katlyn Chookagian with elbows. With each performance, Shevchenko just looks better and more confident in her skills - which should rightly terrify anybody in her weight class.
She really has no weaknesses anymore. Her Muay Thai background has translated beautifully to MMA, and she throws crisp, powerful 8-point combinations with capable stopping power. In the past, her grappling was called into question, but Bullet has largely answered those doubts with submission wins over Julianna Pena and Priscila Cachoeira. A huge factor in why she’s so effective is that Shevchenko is simply a better athlete than 99% of 125-pounders. This lets her hit harder and faster, finish takedowns with authority and defend effectively against any offensive strategies opponents throw at her.
Jennifer Maia (18-6, 4 KOs, 5 SUBs)
It doesn’t take much to earn a title shot at 125 pounds these days. Case in point: Maia is 3-2 in the UFC, and it took only a single win over JoJo Calderwood to get her into a matchup with Shevchenko. We’re not saying that Maia is a scrub. After losing her UFC debut to Carmouche, she pulled together two straight wins over Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi before dropping a decision to Chookagian. While we never condone MMA math, it’s not a good sign that Shevchenko easily beat both of the women that Maia has lost to inside the octagon.
A former Invicta FC champion, Maia isn’t an easy fighter to promote - she’s not a fan friendly fighter to watch. Like many other women fighters, Maia is a grinder that finds wins by overwhelming her opponents. The 32-year old is strong and skilled, but lacking in terms of speed and athleticism. With the exception of her submission of Calderwood, Maia never really dominates her opponents.
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Shevchenko 3.06 / Maia 4.11
Striking accuracy: Shevchenko 50% / Maia 45%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Shevchenko 2.12 / Maia 3.42
Striking defense: Shevchenko 63% / Maia 50%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Shevchenko 2.09 / Maia 0
Takedown accuracy: Shevchenko 54% / Maia -
Takedown defense: Shevchenko 77% / Maia 73%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Shevchenko 0.36 / Maia 0
As of this writing, Shevchenko is currently a -1200 favorite, with Maia at +658 on the comeback. That’s about as lopsided as it gets in this sport - the types of lines that Demetrious Johnson, Cyborg, Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones at their relative peaks. It makes sense - Bullet is so good that almost any fight she takes right now is stay-busy scrap. Maia does her best work on the feet, but is ridiculously outclassed here. What you should bet on is that she’ll find some way to finish the matchup. It still doesn’t pay out much, but it’s still playable.
UFC 255: Figueiredo vs. Perez Card & Odds
Flyweight Title - Alex Perez +235 vs. Deiveson Figueiredo -293
Women's Flyweight Title - Jennifer Maia +812 vs. Valentina Shevchenko -1500
Flyweight - Brandon Royval +154 vs. Brandon Moreno -186
Light Heavyweight - Mauricio Rua +147 vs. Paul Craig -176
Women Flyweight - Katlyn Chookagian +207 vs. Cynthia Calvillo -255
Welterweight - Tim Means +123 vs. Mike Perry -147
Middleweight - Jordan Wright +210 vs. Joaquin Buckley -259
Welterweight - Jared Gooden +118 vs. Alan Jouban -142
Middleweight - Dustin Stoltzfus +243 vs. Kyle Daukaus -303
Women's Flyweight - Ariane Lipski +130 vs. Antonina Shevchenko -157
Welterweight - Sasha Palatnikov +300 vs. Louis Cosce -386
Welterweight - Nicolas Dalby +243 vs. Daniel Rodriguez -303
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