On this fight that was recently promoted to the main event of the night,
we will finally have a rematch for the bantamweight title between the current Champions Amanda Nunes and the No.1 contender Valentina Shevchenko.
29-year-old champion Amanda Nunes will have her 2nd title defence here, after winning this title last year against Miesha Tate and then having defended it successfully against Ronda Rousey.
Two unquestionable wins where Amanda didn’t take more than 4 minutes total to beat them.
Amanda’s path in the UFC has been almost exclusively victorious, with only one defeat against Cat Zingano.
Besides that, Nunes has already defeated Tate and Rousey as well as some other well-known names such as Sara McMann, former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie and even this Valentina Shevchenko.
Amanda has a very strong and compact stature, which also forces her to be very rigorous on her weight cuts. Her biggest strengths are the power of her strikes, very well combined with her wingspan.
The Brazilian also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Judo, which explains her ability to take her opponent to the ground, punishing her on a “ground n pound” or finishing her with a submission.
The biggest question surrounding Amanda is her cardiovascular ability, because if it is true that the Brazilian doesn’t need to stretch out fights for a long-time due to her knockout potential, it is also true that her “gas tank” has let her down sometimes already, due to the extreme aggressiveness that she fights with, especially in the first rounds.
Valentina Shevchenko, born in Kyrgyzstan, ex USSR, 29 years ago, is the title challenger.
A true martial artist that has travelled all around the world both fighting with MMA rules as well as Kickboxing and Muay Thai rules.
She got to the UFC in 2015 and she has been impressing with her abilities and although she was beaten by Amanda Nunes on a close decision in 2016, the wins over Holly Holm and Julianna Peña have given her another chance to face the Brazilian in the octagon.
The Eastern fighter is characterized by her very sharp “striking”, especially her counter-punches.
She uses speed and precision in both her punches and kicks and due to her black belt in Judo she has already shown that she doesn’t need much to bring her opponents to the ground, and even finish them, just like she did on her last fight against Peña.
Not being a huge bantamweight in size, Shevchenko has already made clear that it doesn’t affect her at all and she ends up compensating for that with her excellent physical and cardiovascular condition that have already been very useful for her.
I agree with UFC’s analyst Joe Rogan when he states that this is maybe the best UFC fight ever between two women. Both are top level fighters in terms of martial arts abilities. This same fight was due to happen in July but back then, Amanda Nunes backed off before the clash because she wasn’t at 100% physically, struggling with sinusitis, even after the official pre-fight weigh-ins.
In this fight, we already have a good idea of what might happen since these two have already met before at UFC 196, on a match where Amanda won by unanimous decision after 3 rounds of action.
It was clear back then that the bigger size and aggressiveness of Nunes has convinced the judges to give her the win in the first 2 rounds, with Valentina showing up and dominating the 3rd and final round, after the Brazilian’s physical decay, but being insufficient to ensure the win.
Well that happened in a 3-round fight, but now we will have a title fight, so we could go to 5 rounds.
Does that give an advantage to Shevchenko?
At first, and considering what happened at UFC 196, I’d say yes, but I don’t really believe that is the case here.
Nunes knew back then that she was fighting in a 3-round match, just like now she knows that the fight could last for 5 rounds and I have no doubt that this aspect will make the Brazilian opt to better split her effort, even because she knows by personal experience how tough her opponent is.
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko – Betting Tip and Prediction:
Still, and despite dosing her aggressiveness, Amanda should still have the initiative in this fight, because that is her style and that is what she does incredibly well.
The Brazilian is a type of a fighter that generates most of her power from strikes where she uses the full extension of her body, therefore taking advantage of her bigger size and wingspan.
Valentina should, as usual, opt to “counter-strike” and with that try to slowly wear out Amanda with her strikes. But that’s where the danger of what Amanda can generate lies, both in the “striking” aspect as well as the “grappling” aspect, which is where the Brazilian is, in my opinion, very strong and superior to Shevchenko.
Still, I predict a more balanced fight here, always depending on what Amanda Nunes might accomplish in the early minutes of the fight, but with the knowledge that this can extend all the way up to the “championship rounds”.
The bigger size and strength of Nunes will end up being vital for her to snatch a TKO in the 3rd or 4th rounds or eventually on a judges’ decision.
As for Shevchenko, I predict success yes, but in what will be the most recent division created by the UFC in the near future, the Women’s flyweight category, which is where her physical stature might give her a true advantage.
|Amanda Nunes to win||