An intriguing UFC flyweight title matchup between incumbent gold holder, Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko and former strawweight champion, Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade has been added to UFC 261 on April 24th. — with the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada tentatively targeted to house the event.
Attempting to score the fifth successful defence of her 125-pound throne, Kyrgyzstan native, Shevchenko survived some early adversity against former Invicta FC titleholder, Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 in November last on her way to a unanimous decision victory.
Debuting at 125-pounds back on ‘Fight Island’ at UFC Fight Island 6 in October, Parana finisher, Andrade stopped one-time title chaser, Katlyn Chookagian late in the opening round via a nasty body shot — stamping her status as the number-one contender at flyweight. UFC president, Dana White confirmed the matchup to ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto.
Shevchenko, one of the most dominant champions on the promotion’s books right now, hasn’t missed a step since her drop to the flyweight limit back in February of 2018. Eventually squaring off with former strawweight queen, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Shevchenko scored the vacant championship via a unanimous judging win.
Knocking back all comers since then, the 32-year-old Pavel Fedotov product has finished Jessica Eye in brutal fashion via a timely second round high-kick knockout, before avenging a prior career loss to Liz Carmouche. Stopping common-opposition, Katlyn Chookagian last year at UFC 247 in February, the Tiger Muay Thai trainee then took a judging win against Maia.
An astonishing eighteen fight Octagon veteran, the bullish Andrade scored undisputed 115-pound spoils on home soil at UFC 237 in May of 2019, scoring a brutal, worrying slam knockout win over then-champion, Rose Namajunas in Brazil.
Failing to overcome the obstacle of now-champion, Zhang Weili in her first attempted title defence, Andrade suffered a quickfire knockout loss at UFC Fight Night Shenzhen in August of that year.
Featuring twice in 2020, Andrade scored an eventual rematch against expected next challenger, Namajunas on ‘Fight Island’ in July at UFC 251 — suffering a razor-thin split decision loss. October’s stoppage win over Chookagain came as the 29-year-old’s eighth knockout success.
While not confirmed as of writing, the UFC is reportedly targeting a strawweight championship clash of the above mentioned, Weili and Namajunas to also feature at the April 24th. event, however, if a bout with Namajunas fails to materialise, the promotion would then look to pit Weili with inaugural UFC and Invicta FC strawweight best, Carla Esparza instead.