The main event is upon us, and with it comes Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko in what promises to be a nice throwdown.
We all know Holm’s story: she knocked out Ronda Rousey to become champ, then got put to sleep by Miesha Tate’s jiu-jitsu. Shevchenko, meanwhile, went the distance against Amanda Nunes (and even dished out some pain), while Tate just got her ass kicked by Nunes. So. This should be a stand-up battle, and there are some serious title implications at stake.
Shevchenko stands right outside of Holm’s kicking range and doesn’t budge, forcing Holm to abandon her counter-striking game and be the first to attack. This results in the American eating a few punches, but she makes it worthwhile by coming over the top and dropping Shevchenko with a punch of her own. Shevchenko is back up instantly, and in the final minute she muscles her foe down to the canvas for a split second and then they wrestle against the cage.
An abundance of caution has these ladies ultra-measured with their output in Round 2, which translates into one kick thrown at a time and one punch thrown at a time. Based on numbers and damage, Shevchenko seems to take the round, but who knows that the judges saw.
Holm’s leg keeps getting tenderized and whenever she gets too aggressive Shevchenko wards her off with spinning backfists, and to make matters worse for the former champ, her opponent starts getting takedowna – one coming off a caught kick and Shevchenko sweeping her leg. Ground and pound ensues, and Holm ends the round bloody.
The fourth round sees Holm just a little bit more aggressive, which is all Shevchenko needs to score with her counters. There’s nothing definitive landed in the round – by either lady – so who knows who won it.
Shevchenko has her timing down perfectly, and it shows in the final round with every counter one-two that has her tagging Holm whenever Holm comes in. Still, it is so insanely close, and when the horn sounds it’s hard to pin down who the judges will award the bout to.
Result: Valentina Shevchenko def. Holly Holm via Unanimous Decision