Valentina Shevchenko has just beaten the challenger Taila Santos, via split decision in the co-main event of UFC 275. Shevchenko was the deserving favourite heading into the fight. However, Santos made the champ work for the win and an argument can be made that the judges got the decision wrong.
It was a bizarre showing from the UFC Flyweight Champion. Valentina is a traditionally slow starter. Taila Santos took full advantage of that. Shevchenko attempted an early takedown in the first round. Usually, Valentina dominates her opponents on the ground. But it was different this time around.
Santos, who is a highly rated grappler, took the champ’s bak pretty early in the round. There were multiple instances throughout the bout when Santos came close to finishing the Kyrgyzstani fighter. However, the champ displayed a great side of defensive wrestling as she broke out of submissions multiple times.
🗣 AND STILL!!!@BulletValentina survives the biggest test of her reign to retain the belt! #UFC275 pic.twitter.com/snxJR1dAG1— UFC (@ufc) June 12, 2022
There is no argument that the challenger won the first few rounds. However, an accidental clash of heads made Taila’s eye swell up significantly before the championship rounds. It made her slow down and Valentina had a much easier time in rounds 3 and 4.
She ended the fight on top as the two of the judges gave Shevchenko the nod. They scored it 48-47 and 49-46 respectively for the champ. While one judge scored it for Santos with a scorecard of (48-47).
Was Valentina Shevchenko the rightful winner vs Taila Santos at UFC 275?
Regardless of the winner, there was bound to be controversy after a fight like that. Both Valentina Shevchenko and Taila Santos had their moments of glory in the fight. However, given Valentina’s reputation, what Taila has done, is certainly worth all the praise that she has been getting. But did she deserve much more than that, was she robbed against the champ? Let’s take a dive into the stats.
Judges were unanimous with Rounds 3, 4 and 5.— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) June 12, 2022
2 Judges gave Santos R1
2 Judges gave Shevchenko R2 https://t.co/lvr1yLXPnX
In round 1, Valentina had a hard time and it is evident from the stats. Although she landed 10 significant strikes as opposed to Taila’s 5, the latter had a control time of 1:51 minutes in the round. While Shevchenko also had a decent control time of 1:21 minutes, Santos had 2 submission attempts.
What a first round for Taila Santos 👀 #UFC275 pic.twitter.com/ZDp3QbR1pt— UFC (@ufc) June 12, 2022
Round 2 was the worst of the bunch for Valentina. She landed only 7 significant shots and got absolutely manhandled by Santos. Taila had a control time of 3:40 minutes whereas Shevchenko only controlled 9 seconds of the fight on the ground. Both landed 1 takedown each in the round.
How do you have it scored through 2? 🤔— UFC (@ufc) June 12, 2022
[ #UFC275 | Live on ESPN+ PPV: https://t.co/IEu8bU0BAa ] pic.twitter.com/ZNgMLWCN3l
However, the 3rd round was a turning point for the 34-year-old. She landed 17 significant strikes in the round whereas Taila landed only 7. But the story was the same on the ground as Santos had a control time of 2:21 minutes. Santos also landed 1 takedown in the round.
To the championship rounds we go 🍿 #UFC275 pic.twitter.com/gyKRnZgOaR— UFC (@ufc) June 12, 2022
Round 4 primarily took place on the feet. Shevchenko landed 29 significant shots as Santos held her own with 28 shots herself. But Santos landed the sole takedown of the fight. However, Valentina had the best round of the fight in the 5th as she landed 2 takedowns and controlled 2:36 minutes of the round. Shevchenko and Santos landed 14 and 11 strikes respectively.
From the above mentioned stats, it is very clear that the judge who scored the fight for Santos made the more informed decision. She was clearly the better fighter in the first 3 rounds. But she could not finish the fight when she had the chance. It looks ‘The Bullet‘ got the benefit of the doubt, being the champion.
Who do you think won the fight? Did Valentina Shevchenko deserve to win? Or Taila Santos was unlucky not to be crowned champion. Let us know in the comments below.
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