Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko (-420) vs. Jessica Andrade (+330)
The first of Saturday’s championship triple-header will see flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko face off against Jessica Andrade in her fifth consecutive attempt to defend the belt.
The women’s flyweight division has been monopolised by “Bullet” in the same manner that Amanda Nunes has taken control at bantamweight and featherweight. As such, it shouldn’t surprise us to see Shevchenko (20-3) as one of the biggest favorites present at UFC 261, her -420 odds being among the shortest on offer this weekend, per William Hill USA.
Valentina Shevchenko is an all-around MMA savant— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) April 21, 2021
One of the most gifted strikers the Octagon has ever seen takes on the biggest threat to her title so far!#UFC261 | Saturday | BT Sport 1 HD pic.twitter.com/iBu1Am0FWo
If Shevchenko is to be viewed as the stylistically supreme half of this fixture, then brute power and substance is the where Andrade (21-8) will be viewed as arguably the better combatant. Even that could be argued against the +330 challenger, however, who’s available at +650 to win via KO/TKO thanks to a William Hill odds boost special.
Despite boasting high honors in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, that looks like Andrade’s most likely route to victory, with almost five years having passed since her last submission win. “Bate Estaca” has collected only six of her 21 mixed martial arts wins via decision, and adding to that tally against the relentless, indefatigable, points-scoring weapon that is Shevchenko looks highly unlikely.
Convincing the judges is, after all, more a strength of her opponent. Shevchenko has won three of her six fights by decision since dropping down to flyweight, and the stand-up struggle that looks likely to unfold here works in favor of her technical prowess.
Andrade hopes to make her mark after finishing Katlyn Chookagian in the first round of her flyweight debut back in October. The Brazil native has come to operate on a ‘finish-or-be-finished’ of late and has only seen a final bell in one of her last five fights, moving our attention towards a Shevchenko KO/TKO finish at +210.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade Prediction:
Shevchenko via KO/TKO (+210) in Rd 5 (+2200)