UFC 261: Shevchenko v Andrade odds and predictions
Guy Giles is predicting another dominant defence for flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261 in Jacksonville.
Shevchenko v Andrade odds
Valentina Shevchenko defends her flyweight belt for the fifth time on Saturday against divisional newcomer Jessica Andrade.
Shevchenko is one of the most dominant champions in the UFC, having defended her belt with ease on all four previous occasions.
There doesn’t look to be anyone in the 125lb division that can truly challenge her, although Andrade does present more danger than all of her previous opponents.
The former strawweight champion made her debut in this division in October, steamrolling through former title challenger Katlyn Chookagian within the first round.
Despite such a strong performance on debut at 125lb, Andrade still heads to Jacksonville as a underdog.
Shevchenko, meanwhile, is the favourite.
Shevchenko v Andrade prediction
The calibre of competition for Shevchenko has been so poor that there is talk of the UFC disbanding the flyweight division.
‘Bullet’ will be glad, then, of the fresh blood that Andrade has brought to the weight class after deciding to move up last summer.
In terms of raw power, Andrade is Shevchenko’s biggest test since she faced Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title in September 2017.
The Brazilian has ended each of her last three wins with a knockout, and will walk down her opponents all day long.
Her style can lack subtlety, though, and she has been found out by those who are more technical with their striking – as shown in recent losses to Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili.
There are few UFC fighters who are more technical on the feet than Shevchenko, who is one of the best counter-strikers to ever grace the Octagon.
Her sublime control of distance allows her to avoid taking too much damage, and the accuracy and variety of her strikes allows her to dish it out endlessly.
Although Andrade could potentially have a slight edge in any grappling exchanges, Shevchenko is solid enough on the ground that the Brazilian is likely to try her chances on the feet.
Unless she manages to land a big shot on the champ, who hasn’t been knocked out since September 2010, this fight is only going one way.
Shevchenko is simply too good to be beaten over five rounds – she will find a home for her strikes from the opening bell, and Andrade is unlikely to have an answer.
Shevchenko to win by decision
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