Is Jessica Andrade Too Small in Size to Trouble Valentina Shevchenko?

Published 04/21/2021, 1:00 AM EDT


Valentina Shevchenko has been clearing out her division with one top contender at a time. Now, the flyweight champion will make her fifth flyweight title defense as she takes on former strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade. ‘Bullet’ last defended her title towards the tail end of last year against Jennifer Maia at UFC 255. 

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Andrade, on the other hand, made her flyweight debut in October last year with a win over Katlyn Chookagian and has since been granted a title shot against an extremely dominant champion in Shevchenko.

As we have seen earlier this year with Israel Adesanya, moving up in weight and capturing UFC gold in another weight class is easier said than done. Although ‘Bate Estaca’ has had a tune-up fight at flyweight, a fight against Shevchenko is a different ball game. 

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Will Jessica Andrade be able to overthrow the dominant Valentina Shevchenko?

Valentina Shevchenko is known for her striking. She lands an impressive 2.98 significant strikes per minute while absorbing just 2.03 in return. However, this does not mean she lags behind in other departments. ‘Bullet’ averages 2.21 takedowns per 15 minutes with an accuracy of 58%. 

The champion is an extremely strong flyweight and is on the bigger side when it comes to fighters in the division. She has previously also competed in the bantamweight division. For most of her Muay Thai career, Valentina competed at 60 kgs (132 pounds) therefore she is naturally a much larger woman and is used to competing at a bigger weight class. 

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Meanwhile, Andrade has spent most of her UFC career in the strawweight division. When going up against Shevchenko, she will be at a massive four-inch deficit in both height and reach.

Hence, the task at hand for ‘Bate Estaca’ is an extremely difficult one. However, if she is able to pull it off, she will add her name to an extremely exclusive list of fighters to have captured gold in two weight classes in the UFC. 

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Do you think Jessica Andrade can get the job done against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kevin Binoy

820 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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