Valentina Shevchenko Dominant in Win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk to Become UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion

Valentina Shevchenko showcased a dominant striking game coupled with a strong ground attack to get the best of Joanna Jedrzejczyk over five rounds to become the UFC women's flyweight champion.

Valentina Shevchenko has waited for a long time to finally wrap UFC gold around her waist.

On Saturday night in Toronto, she was crowned the new women’s flyweight champion with a dominant five round performance to defeat Joanna Jedrzjecyzk in the co-main event at UFC 231.

Shevchenko showcased the best of her entire fight arsenal to get the better of Jedrzejczyk, who was moving up to 125 pounds after reigning as the strawweight champion for more than two years prior to losing her title in 2017.

As the action got started, Shevchenko immediately surprised Jedrzejczyk with a beautiful sweep takedown to bring her crashing down to the canvas in one of the first exchanges of the fight.

To her credit, Jedrzejczyk avoided taking much damage but it immediately let her know that Shevchenko wasn’t going to allow their fight to be a glorified kickboxing match.

Before time expired in the opening round, Shevchenko uncorked a nasty spin kick to the body that sent Jedrzejczyk flying backwards. The former strawweight champion smiled in return but the kick definitely caught her flush to the body.

The second round saw Shevchenko once again vary her attacks by alternating from her striking offense including a front kick straight to the face and then once again planting Jedrzejczyk on the mat.

Shevchenko really showed off her power in the clinch, which allowed her to muscle Jedrzejczyk down to the canvas on two different occasions. Once again just before the round ended, Jedrzejczyk worked her way back to the feet only to eat a nasty knee from Shevchenko in the clinch.

The third round saw Jedrzejczyk up her volume and launch a head kick that nearly landed flush that could have changed the direction of this fight in a hurry. Instead, Shevchenko countered with a perfectly timed left hand that clipped Jedrzejczyk as she returned fire.

It was much the same throughout the championship rounds with Jedrzejczyk doing everything possible to up her intensity to throw with more volume but she had to constantly be aware of Shevchenko’s counters and takedowns.

While Jedrzejczyk didn’t have a bad performance by any means, it was Shevchenko’s accurate striking and powerful wrestling attack that helped her maintain control for the biggest part of the 25 minutes they spent in the cage together.

Even as Jedrzejczyk would begin pressing forward with a little more reckless aggression, she was still eating shots from Shevchenko, who was just surgical with her counter strikes.

When the final horn sounded, it was clear that Shevchenko had done more than enough to earn the victory with a true mixed martial arts performance from start to finish to get the better of Jedrzejczyk over five rounds.

The judges all ultimately scored the fight 49-46 in favor of Shevchenko, who is now the UFC women’s flyweight champion.

“I was waiting for so long this moment,” Shevchenko said with the UFC belt finally resting on her shoulder. “I’m very happy that I get this belt in a fight with Joanna because she’s very professional. This is more valor for me to get this belt from this kind of fight.”

Shevchenko was a top contender in the women’s bantamweight division but now that she’s competing at a more natural 125 pounds it’s going to be awfully tough to see her surrender that title any time soon.

It’s been a strange trip for the flyweight division after first launching last year but there’s finally a new champion at the top with Shevchenko standing tall as the best 125-pound women’s fighter in the world.


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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.