Valentina Shevchenko maintained her perfect record at Flyweight at UFC 255 when she cruised to a unanimous decision victory against Jennifer Maia. While the result was certainly expected, people were a bit surprised to see Maia win the second round.
With a perfect 6-0 streak at Flyweight, it looks unlikely that anyone will dethrone The Bullet at 125 pounds. UFC President Dana White, however, believes that there is one opponent for Valentina Shevchenko that makes a lot of sense right now.
Jessica Andrade, who recently moved to Flyweight, knocked out Katlyn Chookagian with a body shot and established herself as an immediate contender at 125-pounds.
Although some would argue that Jessica Andrade is too small for the division, the former Strawweight Champion could the competition that Valentina Shevchenko needs.
Speaking in the UFC 255 post-fight press conference, Dana White admitted that Jessica Andrade vs. Valentina Shevchenko is a fun fight to make and believes that the Brazilian will provide Shevchenko with the competition that she desires (H/T MMAFighting.com):
“I think Andrade vs. Shevchenko is a very fun fight, and the thing I love about that fight is that Shevchenko’s at a place in her career where she needs an opponent that people think actually has a chance of beating her, and I think we all know that Andrade does,” White said
Dana White also stated that there's a possibility of doing a Valentina Shevchenko vs. Weili Zhang fight if the circumstances are right:
“If you’re going to go out and be safe against somebody like Jennifer, what are you going to do against Andrade? Andrade is going to bring her a lot of things she’s never seen before, not to mention the power Andrade has. She just knocked the No. 2 girl in the world with a body shot She’s a real problem for Shevchenko that (Shevchenko is) going to have to figure out, and if she does, I think the fight that makes more sense is, Zhang will fight here soon, and after Weili fights, maybe you do those two."
Would it be too early for Valentina Shevchenko vs. Weili Zhang?
Weili Zhang is expected to face Rose Namajunas in early 2021. Following her emphatic victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248, the Chinese Champion's stock has risen higher than ever. Her next big test will be against another former Champion in Rose Namajunas, but she hasn't been shy from stating her desire to fight Valentina Shevchenko.
While not outright calling her out, Weili Zhang has expressed interest in the Champion vs. Champion fight, and given how the UFC has been promoting Zhang, it wouldn't be surprising to see an eventual match-up between her and Valentina Shevchenko.
Many would argue, however, that it would be too early to book such a fight against Valentina Shevchenko, especially since Zhang has a lot to do before establishing herself at the level that Shevchenko has reached.Published 24 Nov 2020, 11:31 IST