UFC 255: Shevchenko v Maia odds and predictions
Jack Green predicts a stoppage win for the champion as Valentina Shevchenko defends her flyweight belt against Jennifer Maia at UFC 255.
Shevchenko v Maia odds
The first of two championship fights on Saturday night sees Valentina Shevchenko put her flyweight title on the line against Jennifer Maia.
After years of contending at the top of the bantamweight division, Shevchenko moved down to flyweight in December 2018 and has become one of the UFC’s most dominant champions.
She has won five consecutive bouts since losing by split decision to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes back in September 2017, successfully defending her belt in dominant fashion on three occasions.
Her next test is Maia, who beat Joanne Calderwood by first-round submission in August to earn her shot at the belt.
The Brazilian held the Invicta flyweight title between March 2016 and December 2017 before making the move to the UFC. Since then, she is 3-2 with defeats to Liz Carmouche and Kaitlyn Chookagian.
Maia is to cause an upset on Saturday, while Shevchenko is a big favourite at .
Shevchenko v Maia prediction
The odds indicate that there is a sizeable gap between these fighters, and it’s easy to see why.
Shevchenko has cleared out the flyweight division, beating everyone in her path with relative ease. Although Maia is a strong contender, this is a terrible match-up for the Brazilian.
Maia is a pressure fighter who likes to push forward and use her physical strength to dominate opponents in the clinch. She’s not the most technical striker, which could be a problem against one of the most polished kickboxers in the UFC.
Shevchenko’s combination of size and speed makes her incredibly dangerous when fighting on the back foot, and it appears very likely that Maia will walk into a big shot when she tries to bully the champion.
Maia’s two UFC defeats have come against fighters that Shevchenko dispatched in her last two fights. ‘Bullet’ beat Carmouche on points in August before stopping Chookagian in the third round of their bout in February of this year.
The Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian is so good at finding openings on the feet against all different opponents that victory on Saturday night looks a matter of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’.
Judging by these fighters’ strengths, a Shevchenko win by knockout looks a very safe bet at .
Two of her last three finishes have come in the second round, so that also looks worthy of a punt at .
Shevchenko to win by KO/TKO/DQ
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