Valentina Shevchenko made the first successful defense of her flyweight title with a thunderous knockout of Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on Saturday in Chicago.
Though she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the belt, Shevchenko wanted badly to put a stamp on being the UFC champion with a successful defense against a streaking Eye.
The first round was all Shevchenko. Though Eye started strong, pressing Shevchenko with punches, she ate numerous hard kicks to the body.
Shevchenko eventually clinched with Eye and took her to the canvas where the fight remained for the better part of the opening frame. Shevchenko maintained top position for most of the remainder of the round, but mounted little damage on the canvas.
Having seen success with kicks to the body in the first round, Shevchenko continued her attacks to the body in round two, but only to set up the finishing blow.
That finishing blow came just 26 seconds into the second frame when Shevchenko’s kicks to the body were followed with one perfectly timed kick to the head. That head kick laid Eye flat on her back, arms flopped to her side, completely unconscious.
Shevchenko didn’t follow her opponent to the ground. She didn’t drop the hammer to make sure Eye was out. She didn’t need to. Eye was out cold.
With the precision of a cold-blooded assassin, Shevchenko landed the kill shot and simply walked away, calm as could be. She remained in her corner waiting for Eye to regain consciousness and then clapped as she did so a couple minutes later.
The victory marked Shevchenko’s third consecutive since returning to the flyweight division and was her first defense of the UFC flyweight title.
Though she mentioned wanting another shot at dual-division champion Amanda Nunes prior to UFC 238, Shevchenko said she now welcomes any challenger in the 125-pound rankings.
“All number tens, they are all very strong.”