EDMONTON, Alberta - Amanda Nunes is still the UFC's female bantamweight champion - by the very skin of her teeth. Her nose is red from my punches. The Kyrgyzstani rallied in the second, her output increasing dramatically as the champion invested too much in feints.
It was a tactical fight with few extended skirmishes until Nunes (15-4-0) took Shevchenko twice to the mat in the fifth round. Nunes' unanimous-decision victory set her up for a championship opportunity, and she hasn't looked back since. Nunes is opening up more than she did in the second. She also has the ranking "Master of Sports" in Muay Thai, Boxing, Taekwondo and Judo, and has stopped 10 opponents in 14 victories in her professional MMA career: six by submission and four by knockout, showing that she has the ability to finish the fight anywhere. I won this fight and I totally disagree with this decision going to the other side.
Round 3. Shevchenko lands a nice right hand early. For this fight, she started to be a little bit humble. She has been able to overwhelm most of her opponents with her striking. Be that as it may, the Tiger Muay Thai fighter will do everything in her power to get back in there with Nunes to claim what she feels is truly hers.
Nunes, who was forced to cancel the title defense in July when she fell ill on fight day, pointed to a pair of late takedowns as a difference-maker.
"It was tough because I buy my new house, my new vehicle, all those things you work so hard to get", Nunes said.
After the contest, a relieved Nunes explained: "I knew everything Valentina was going to bring tonight".
Henry Cejudo will face Wilson Reis, the last challenger for Johnson's belt, in the flyweight division on the main card.
The preliminary card is headlined by a bout between Sara McMann, a former title challenger, and Ketlen Vieira, while the main card will open with a bout between Gilbert Melendez and Jeremy Stephens. The former Strikeforce lightweight champion had no answer for Jeremy Stephen's leg kicks but managed to hobble to the final bell where he lost a one-sided decision on the judges' scorecards.