Sunday, 24 July 2016
UFC on FOX 20 results: Valentina Shevchenko works over Holly Holm for upset win
CHICAGO – Another women’s bantamweight headliner, another upset.
Valentina Shevchenko (12-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) picked apart ex-champHolly Holm (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) to earn a unanimous decision, adding another upset to a division that’s seen a revolving door of champs over the past year.
The women’s bantamweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC on FOX 20 event at United Center in Chicago. It aired on FOX following prelims on FOX and UFC Fight Pass.
The scores were unanimously 49-46 for Shevchenko, who afterward called for another fight with the only woman to beat her in the octagon, Amanda Nunes.
“Amanda, she’s a good fighter,” said Shevchenko, who previously lost a decision to the recently crowned champ. “She has good standup and a good ground game, and of course, I want a rematch for the title.”
Holm hoped to get back into contention with a win over Shevchenko after her fifth-round loss to now ex-champ Miesha Tate in March. She initially expressed misgivings about the matchup, understanding the ex-kickboxing champ was tougher than many knew. When the action settled into a predictable rhythm, it was clear why.
After Shevchenko was knocked down in the opening frame by a charging right hand, she adjusted her timing and found a right hook counter that repeatedly found its target. Holm swarmed forward only to be intercepted by a punch and a follow-up leg kick. Attempts to muscle Shevchenko in the clinch lead to a takedown and a long stint on her back, where a cut opened by a headbutt bled generously.
Over the third and fourth rounds, Holm’s strategy remained static. She continued to press forward with kicks that were mostly ineffective, and her punches weren’t anchored in a way that had any effect, allowing Shevchenko to repeat her successful formula.
A last-ditch effort in the fifth round saw Holm pick up the pace, but not change her attack. A series of right hand counters visibly stung her, leaving little doubt of the fight’s winner.
“She’s newer in the UFC, but I knew I had my hands full with this fight,” Holm, who suffered her second consecutive UFC loss, said afterward. “When they offered it to me, I didn’t want to act like I didn’t want to take it. I knew it was a really big challenge. What can you do? I know it was a competitive fight, and I take nothing away from her.
“I was taught all the right things. My coaches teach me everything. My performance was not right tonight.
For Shevchenko, No. 10 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s bantamweight rankings, the upset over No. 2 Holm was not only a huge validation of her talent, but her resilience outside the octagon. Two months ago, she was the victim of an attempted robbery that left her coach with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. The incident came in the middle of her camp and threatened to derail her preparation. But she soldiered through and made it to the fight, her mostly-recovered coach by her side.
With a title shot on the horizon, Shevchenko, a Kyrgyzstan native with roots in Peru, thanked her team for getting her to this point.
“It’s very important in my career,” she said. “My strategy was to do everything I know, to put all my heart, all my power, everything that I learned in more than 20 years in martial arts. And I did it today!”
Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 20 results include:
Valentina Shevchenko def. Holly Holm via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Edson Barboza def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Francis Ngannou def. Bojan Mihajlovic via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:34
Felice Herrig def. Kailin Curran via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:59
Eddie Wineland def. Frankie Saenz via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:54
Darren Elkins def. Godofredo Pepey via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
Kamaru Usman def. Alexander Yakovlev via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
Michel Prazeres def. J.C. Cottrell via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Alex Oliveira def. James Moontasri via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Jason Knight def. Jim Alers via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Luis Henrique def. Dmitrii Smoliakov via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:58
For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 20, check out the UFC Events section of the site.
(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson contributed to this report on site in Chicago.)