- Valentina Shevchenko will defend the UFC women’s flyweight title against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261.
- The bout marks Shevchenko’s 5th defense of the title she won in December 2018.
- Shevchenko has opened as a sizeable -336 betting favorite to retain her belt.
The betting odds for UFC 261’s women’s flyweight title fight between champion Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade have been released.
As expected, the champion has opened as the odds on favorite at the best UFC betting sites. According to the BetOnline.ag app, Shevchenko is the -336 favorite to beat Andrade, who came back at +275 when the oddsmaker opened its odds after the announcement of the match on Wednesday:
Odds for Shevchenko vs. Andrade:
Jessica Shevchenko -336
Jessica Andrade +275
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) February 24, 2021
But while the champion is a sizeable favorite, -336 represents the shortest odds she’s opened with in a title defense and her second shortest odds at the flyweight division since she was a +300 when she fought Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the belt in 2018.
The lines don’t come as a surprise though as Andrade is believed to be the biggest test for Shevchenko at this weight class.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) October 18, 2020
Andrade made a successful flyweight debut at UFC Fight Island 6 last October as she knocked out the current no. 2 ranked flyweight Katlyn Chookagian with punishing body shots. The 29-year old Brazilian is a former UFC women’s strawweight champion. Andrade defeated Rose Namajunas at UFC 237 to win the belt. However, she lost the title to current champion Zhang Weili in her first title defense. Still, Andrade is one of the toughest fighters in the women’s side.
Known as Bate Escata ( pile driver ), Andrade is one of the best finishers in the UFC. She has a record of 21-8 with eight knockouts and seven wins via submission. Her body slam TKO of Namajunas was her latest body of work. She is 1-2 in her last three bouts but after making easy work of the much bigger Chookagian, she is considered the biggest threat to Shevchenko’s reign.
The Brazilian owns eight post-fight bonus award and is tied with Namajunas with the most stoppage victories in the women’s flyweight division. Fighting at a higher weight class is nothing new to Andrade. She campaigned at bantamweight prior to the establishment of the lower weight classes.
The Bullet is Back
The Bullet is back!
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 24, 2021
Shevchenko has dominated the UFC women’s flyweight division since its inception. The inaugural champion has looked unstoppable during her first four title defenses, winning two via knockout and the other two by comfortable decisions. The 32-year old Krgyzstani-Peruvian fighter is ranked second in the UFC’s female pound for pound list and is unbeaten at this weight class.
A multiple time Muay Thai and Kickboxing world champion, Shevchenko is also not new to fighting bigger opponents. Before the flyweight division was established, she fought at bantamweight, challenged for the belt, and gave current double-champion Amanda Nunes the toughest two bouts of her UFC career.
Nunes owns two wins over Shevchenko but both of their fights were close, and the decisions could have gone Bullet’s way if the judges were different. In their second bout, the five-rounder for the bantamweight belt, Nunes barely escaped with a split decision. For sure Valentina deserves a third fight, but with the creation of flyweight, her natural weight class, she has settled down as the woman to beat here.