Jessica Andrade’s offense is good, but is it as strong as Valentina Shevchenko’s defense?
Valentina Shevchenko was 3-2 at bantamweight with both of her losses coming to Amanda Nunes when she dropped to flyweight in 2018. In her UFC flyweight debut, Shevchenko put delivered a one-sided beating to an over-matched Priscila Cachoeira. Shevchenko won the vacant flyweight title in her next outing. Since that victory, which took place in December 2018, Shevchenko has ruled the roost at the top of the flyweight division with four title defenses. On Saturday, at UFC 261, Shevchenko puts her belt on the line against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade.
Andrade has been with the UFC since 2013. She has taken part in 18 fights under the organization’s banner. Andrade made her UFC flyweight debut in October 2018 with a first-round knockout win over ex-UFC title challenger, Katlyn Chookagian. Andrade, who is a former UFC strawweight champion, has also fought at bantamweight with the promotion.
The most interesting stats to look at ahead of this matchup are in the striking department. Andrade has been a very aggressive striker throughout her career. On average, she lands 6.38 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy of 49 percent. The problem Andrade will have in this contest is the defensive acumen of the champion. Shevchenko, who has height and reach advantages over her opponent of four inches in each department, also has some of the best striking defense in the women’s 125-pound division with a significant striking defense rate of 69 percent and a strikes absorbed per minute of 1.52, which is almost one significant strike lower than the second-ranked flyweight, Mara Romero Borella.
UFC 261 takes place Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass.
Below is a look at how Shevchenko and Andrade match up in striking and other key stats ahead of the event.