For Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Saturday night's UFC 231 was about getting back to where she was. For Valentina Shevchenko it was about getting where she always thought she belonged.
After years of Jedrzejczyk running the UFC's Strawweight division, she hit a wall she couldn't break through in the form of Rose Namajunas. The same happened for Valentina Shevchenko at Bantamweight in Amanda Nunes, although many thought "The Bullet" should be champion after her last bout. With UFC instituting a 125 pound weight-division (and an inactive Nicco Montano vacating the title), both Joanna and Valentina met in the middle at a more natural weight class each, and a vacant title on the line.
The fight was all Valentina's early on, and mirrored their three amateur striking battles. Shevchenko imposed her will with powerful takedowns over the first two rounds, including a belly-to-belly suplex. Joanna improved as the fight continued, but had a huge three round hole to dig herself out of. As it turns out, she had a shovel when she needed a bulldozer, and lost a unanimous decision.
You can see an excerpt of FightfulMMA.com's live coverage below.
Round Five: The round begins with Jedrzejczyk coming forward and nailing Shevchenko with combinations, Jedrzejczyk attacks Shevchenko with a variety of kicks. Shevchenko grabs Jedrzejczyk and gets her up against the cage wall, the referee separates the fighters for inactivity. The action resumes with Jedrzejczyk nailing Shevchenko with a right, Shevchenko nails Jedrzejczyk with a spinning back kick to the midsection. Jedrzejczyk and Shevchenko have a few brief striking exchanges, Shevchenko grabs Jedrzejczyk and gets her against the cage wall. The fighters separate and Shevchenko nails Jedrzejczyk with another spinning back kick to the midsection, Jedrzejczyk lands a right and eats a spinning back fist as the round ends.
Fightful scores the round 10-9 for Jedrzejczyk (Final Score: 49-46 for Shevchenko)
Official Result: #1 Valentina Shevchenko def. #1 (WSW) Joanna Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) to win the title
Fightful has full, live coverage of UFC 231 at this link, as well as a live post-show podcast covering the event. We'll also cover the happenings on our MMA & Boxing Youtube channel Tuesday at 2 PM EST for the FightfulMMA.com Podcast with Sean Ross Sapp and MMA insiders James Lynch and "Showdown" Joe Ferraro.