UFC 261 Betting Pick: Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade

This is a matchup that I have been hoping to see for a while. Jessica Andrade has bounced around three different weight classes in her UFC career and seems to have found the sweet spot at Flyweight (125 pounds).

She was far too short at Bantamweight and, of course, drained at Strawweight. She lost her last two fights at 115 when Weili took the belt from her in exciting and devastating fashion with a first round TKO.

If Weili can do it, then so can Valentina Shevchenko, right?

One would think so. Jessica Andrade is really coming into her own now as a fighter, though. She has been around the UFC so long now that we forget her age.

She is still only 29 years old. I think that is scary for the vast majority of the UFC Women’s Flyweight Division. Again, does Valentina fall under that vast majority? Probably not.

The betting line is off here, though.

I certainly favor the champion in this matchup but not as a 4.5 to 1 favorite.

Jessica looks pretty confident in yesterday’s stare downs from the press conference.

The size difference is there but there is no denying Jessica Andrade the takedown once she gets her hands clasped. In a striking battle, I see Valentina catching the hands down, bad defense of Jessica Andrade with something big.

I think a head kick is on the way. Let’s take a look at the round totals and methods of victory here to find some value in this Flyweight Championship fight. The betting odds as usual are provided to us by the wonderful folks over at BetOnline!

Valentina Shevchenko (-450) vs Jessica Andrade (+350)

Okay, 4.5 to 1? No!

I absolutely will not. Jessica has a good chance in this fight.

  • She is the younger fighter.
  • She is probably the physically stronger fighter.
  • She has more power in her hands.

If this is a boxing match, I think the champion will still find a way to win but it will probably play out closely. Kicking is what the champ needs to do here and lots of them. I want to see high kicks against Jessica who is notorious for keeping her hands low.

I would stay away from throwing the body kick because that could get her taken down. Here is the thing with Valentina lately. She has been relying heavily on her wrestling to win fights. I’m not saying she can’t out-strike her opponents. She has just been going with the path of least resistance.

That option may be unavailable against the Brazilian, though.

Her center of gravity is unmatched in the UFC if you ask me. A statistic that jumps off the page for me is the significant strikes landed per minute for each fighter. Jessica has a very high number with over 6 per minute while the champ lands less than 3 per minute.

Of course, the defensive stats are flipped, though. Jessica absorbs over 5 per minute while the champ is only hit just over twice.

That is a big difference. Andrade doesn’t mind trading at all and in fact, she prefers it because she has the durability to hang. Well, this strategy didn’t work out so well when she fought Weili Zhang but other than that, she has been alright.

So, bet the dog here?

I can’t. I think the line is off and I think she has a decent chance stylistically against the champ who probably won’t be able to take her down. At the end of the day, though, we have to look at a method of victory for Valentina.

Please Note:
You can get the champ to get the finish in this one for (+135). The TKO line is above 2 to 1 and I don’t think she will submit the Brazilian – but I don’t think a lot of times – and that doesn’t always work out for me. We’ve got plus money and 25 minutes of a knockout artist who has a sizable reach and height advantage who doesn’t have a wrestling advantage. All of these point towards a striking battle between the two women.

Also, Jessica is aggressive and she gets hit with 5 significant strikes per minute for her career. She is just too aggressive and too hittable to last 25 minutes 50% of the time against someone like Valentina Shevchenko.

That’s my take.

The Bet
Shevchenko Wins Inside Distance

In Conclusion

Valentina Shevchenko hasn’t been looking amazing lately. That is the story on her. Everyone was freaking out because she lost a round to Jennifer Maia.

Big deal…She won the other four.

We have been spoiled by the champ and this happens a lot.

Do you guys remember when Anderson Silva was finishing everyone he fought? During his prime of 31-37 in the UFC, he went 16-0 with 14 stoppages. This is around the same time that Georges St Pierre went 5 years without a finish himself.

What do you hear about, though, when people talk about Silva’s career? Oh, the Damien Maia fight was terrible. He didn’t finish him.

People will always focus on the negative and find something to be mad about if they want to.

That’s what has happened with Valentina Shevchenko.

She starts using her wrestling to cruise to wins and all of a sudden, she is over the hill?

  • This woman has finished 4 of her last 6 wins and they have all been at the highest level minus one fight.
  • Andrade is hard to finish but she is very aggressive. She isn’t the type to try and “go the distance” with the champ.

Like Jorge Masvidal, Jessica Andrade is game bred and will come forward until she can’t anymore against Valentina Shevchenko. Get your bets in now and enjoy the three title fights in front of a crowd on Saturday night at UFC 261!


Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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