MMA Preview – Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade at UFC 261

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VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VS JESSICA ANDRADE FACTS

When is UFC 261? Sunday 25th April, 2021 - 01:00 start (UK)

Where is UFC 261? VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC 261? Click here to buy tickets for UFC 261

What channel is UFC 261 on? BT Sport 1

Where can I stream UFC 261? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!

VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VS JESSICA ANDRADE LOWDOWN

The flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) returns for the fifth defence of her crown. The division is rather hollow but there is no doubting that Shevchenko is one of the best and most skilled female fighters of all time. The only woman ahead of her is Amanda Nunes who she fought twice up a weight class taking her to two decisions with a lot of fans believing she did enough to earn the split decision in the second fight. Since that loss, she has gone on a tear, outclassing Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title and then swatting away Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia in her last fight although she had to go through some adversity against Maia who managed to win a round.

Arguably the most formidable contender to Shevchenko, Jessica Andrade (21-8) who stepped up from strawweight back in October to fight Chookagian and punctured her with a beautiful liver punch, eventually putting her away in the first round to seal a title shot. She is one of the most experienced women on the roster now with title fight experience. She is the former strawweight champion and started her career up at 135 lbs and the stage is now set for an epic showdown.

VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VS JESSICA ANDRADE PREDICTION

What makes this Shevchenko’s toughest test in the division is the fact we finally saw a hole in Shevchenko’s game which was her takedown defence. A very slight hole as Maia only got take down once but the huge underdog had almost eight minutes of control time and Andrade is a great grappler with brute strength.

Andrade is also a heavy underdog but if she can employ a game plan of wrestling for five rounds and hurt Shevchenko with ground-and-pound, she could earn a decision here.

However, fight IQ has never been her strong suit and the warrior in her will want to trade to with the champion. She showed good improvement with her head movement in the Rose Namajunas rematch, but Shevchenko is levels above on the feet.

Shevchenko has a four-inch height and reach advantage and the technique to violently punish Andrade. If the Brazilian wrestles and clinches for five rounds she has a slight chance and it is worth a punt as the heavy underdog but if she decides to trade, Shevchenko will expose her defence.

Prediction: Shevchenko via KO/TKO - CLICK HERE FOR PARIMATCH'S WELCOME OFFER (BET £5, GET £30 IN BONUSES!)

Value Bet: Andrade via Decision

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