You know UFC Heavyweight contender and a man who owns a win over Francis Ngannou, Derrick Lewis, will have himself an Octagon side seat in his hometown.
Not far from him probably will be the friends and teammates of main event competitor, Charles Oliveira, who is from the favelas of Brazil but is now proud to be a Texan and Houstonian as well.
Oliveira is a force in the UFC’s Lightweight Division and he finally gets his chance at gold but will have an American bulldog standing in his way by the name of Michael Chandler.
Lived up to the hype 🙌
🇺🇸 Will @MikeChandlerMMA's 2nd appearance be just as memorable?
— UFC (@ufc) May 13, 2021
Chandler has just 1 fight inside of the Octagon compared with 27 from Charlie Olives. Michael has been fighting against high level experience, though, spending the majority of his career inside of the top five under the Bellator banner.
Let’s focus now, though, on a fight that I admittedly flip flopped. I’ve heard the go with your first instinct thing a million times and I get it but it isn’t always the best advice when predicting the winner of a sporting event or a fight.
If my mind is already made up then I will just go with Antonina, and no need to watch the tape or do the research.
At first glance, Andrea Lee has lost 3 fights in a row and is in danger of losing her job while Antonina is the sister of the champ and looked amazing herself in her last bout.
Ariana Lipski is borderline UFC level. She has a great look and fights very hard but with a glaring wrestling hole in her game, Shevchenko was able to keep the fight where she wanted and dominate from there eventually TKO’ing the Brazilian in the second.
The betting odds we found that best suited our prediction today and most of our other picks as well came from the fine folks over at BetOnline.AG. Let’s see where the numbers are for this fight and make a prediction!
Antonina Shevchenko (-125) vs Andrea Lee (+105)
Let’s begin with Antonina. She is 36.5 years old…
That isn’t a good look to start with. Shevchenko is the older sister, though, of possibly the best pound for pound women’s MMA fighter on the planet, Valentina Shevchenko.
— Antonina Shevchenko (@AntoninaPantera) April 25, 2021
I know you want to say Amanda Nunes and seeing how these two women are a weight class apart and had two razor-close fights then…
I think that gives her the edge ever so slightly but that’s just me. She also doesn’t rely on knockout power but that is part of a fighter’s characteristics so we will stop there with the ladies’ GOAT talk.
Antonina is very tall for the weight class standing at 5’8”. She is a southpaw which usually gives her an advantage. I swear, they say that 10% of the population is left-handed but in fighting, that number nearly triples.
It opens up the liver which is on the open side of the right handed fighter and you have to remember that righties are used to fighting righties and so are those evil southpaws.
I had my ulna snapped from not covering a kick properly. In my defense, he was a 19 year old super athlete and southpaw. The kid didn’t have a ton of experience so maybe I had my hands kinda low. The kick gets there so fast, though, and since my arm wasn’t reinforced by the rest of my body or even my shoulder, it took all of the psi and snap. Clean break and recovery but it’s one of those things you feel on a rainy day.
Antonina isn’t much of a power striker, though, even with her kicks. She is pretty dangerous with her knees from the Muay Thai plum or necktie but that could get her into trouble against Andrea.
Fighters are getting much more technical with their body locks and using the cage to get their takedowns. Andrea Lee usually prefers the double leg but if Nina throws her in the plum, the body lock is coming and I think the fight is headed south to the mat for a little bit.
She has been able to get away with it for the most part but it doesn’t give her opponents much to worry about if they want to go for a takedown.
- Nina doesn’t have the submission threat.
- She doesn’t crack and she lands 4 significant strikes per minute.
That last stat I will admit is pretty good but compared to the 5.58 landed from Andrea Lee…
Nina has looked good in her UFC career but never really wowed us like her sister has and that’s okay but we can’t pick her or handicap her with a bias simply because of her last name.
— Antonina Shevchenko (@AntoninaPantera) April 26, 2021
It means something to me when I think about her taking care of herself, training hard and with the right people. I think she is good there but like many strikers who get into MMA, there is a large learning curve in the wrestling/takedown defense department.
That is the worry for Nina here against Andrea Lee but don’t count out KGB on the feet. She only needs the threat of the takedown which at least right now, she does, and that gives her an advantage before the fight even begins.
You see better wrestlers out striker better strikers all the time without even getting a takedown. The threat is there and it is in the head of the striker. The striker will hesitate more missing opportunities of their own and if the wrestler fakes a takedown and goes with a strike then the striker is getting it from both sides.
Andrea already lands 1.5 more significant strikes per 15 minutes and will have the wrestling advantage. She also has the reach advantage. Lee is the better all around mixed martial artist. I think most would agree there.
Maybe Nina comes out and puts Lee on her back showing this brand new wrestling skill at nearly 37 years old but I’m not buying it. She will try to keep range and snipe from the outside. If they clinch, she will go with the plum and try to land knees.
I don’t think that will work against Lee but I could be wrong. That is about all we can expect from Nina. That’s how she wins.
She gets taken down and controlled. Roxy and Katlyn Chookagian were able to do that with relative ease.
Shev has a 56% takedown defense rate and Lee, who is almost at a 50% clip offensively, which is a much better number, will likely get her down multiple times in this fight if she wants to. We need to accept that this will likely be the case and finish our handicap from there.
Andrea was out-techniqued in the clinch and on the mat by Roxanne who was training Judo in Japan for years while Lee was still in middle school or younger.
Then, Lauren Murphy was able to out-muscle her in the clinch which is understandable because she did the same thing to Roxy.
Lee lost the decision to Modafferi but every single sports writer and media member gave the decision to her over Murphy. The Roxy fight was close. Lee still outlanded her by a good margin.
Then, in her other UFC defeat, Andrea dropped a split decision to Joanna Calderwood.
— UFC (@ufc) September 7, 2019
Jojo and Murphy are fighting next for a #1 title shot against Valentina so we know they are good. Lee was able to control the slight frame of Jojo and Nina is a similar fighter to Calderwood in size and style.
So, Andrea Lee has lost her last 3 fights inside of the Octagon. This is a fact. Two of these were split decisions and the other fight was a defended takedown and a few clean punches away from being a win.
I shrieked when I saw the three fight losing skid also but then once I jogged my memory, I saw that she could have very easily won all three of those fights. The Roxy fight was the most recent also so imagine her confidence heading into the Modafferi fight if she had won her previous two split decisions.
I can see Andrea taking Nina down multiple times in this fight and she is active with her ground and pound. It isn’t devastating but it is enough to make Shev work even harder to get back to her feet.
Once there, Nina will be forced to hesitate and the rest of the fight should come to Andrea.
Well, they were against top 10 competition and she fails to put her stamp on rounds. Maybe she tries a little harder for the finish, tries to take the back of Antonina and get the rear naked choke…
I don’t know about that. I always say that if you already have an underdog, then don’t bother with the method of victory. Just take the dog money and let’s hope we win. In this case, though, with Nina having survived on the ground with Modafferi and Chookagian, I think she goes the distance with Andrea Lee.
Well, (+105) is nice but (+165) to win by decision is awfully tempting. That is a gorgeous number from where I am sitting. It is probably my most winning number of all my underdog bets.
Khabib was (+165) to get the finish on Gaethje.
Flip the two split decisions and tell me the line would be the same. No chance.
The fight tape is the fight tape. That trumps what one or two judges might have thought, well, at least in the handicapping process. They can burn us at the betting window but now is when we take it back with research and preparation.
If Nina loses, her sister won’t let her get cut but Lee is on her own in that regard, although, I would imagine the UFC would have her back considering the domestic abuse she dealt with in the past.
These two ladies are both solid strikers that land a combined near 10 strikes significant per minute. That means they will be flying fast and the questionable judging down in Texas will likely side with the fighter who scored a takedown that round.
She is also a southern girl herself and her enemy might as well be Russian for all they know. Eh, who knows if they would score it higher for the American. We know the Brits would do it!
The less experienced judging scoring control and takedown over cleaner strikes landed throughout the round is certainly something we should note. If this fight was in Vegas where judges are getting light years better about scoring fights correctly and damage over control and especially damage or grappling aggression, then I might have to side with Nina.
With her wrestling advantage and striking volume, I love her here as an underdog.