Deiveson Figueiredo, Valentina Shevchenko Retain Titles at UFC 255

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Deiveson Figueiredo took just one minute and fifty-seven seconds to submit Alex Perez by a guillotine choke and retain his flyweight title at UFC 255 at the Apex in Las Vegas Saturday night. The highly anticipated fight came to a sudden end when Figueiredo deftly turned a takedown attempt by Perez into a guillotine and while it appeared Perez might be able to escape, Figueiredo’s strength proved to be too much.  


The win improves Figueiredo’s MMA record to 20-1 and sets up a potential title bout between the champion and number one ranked contender Brandon Moreno.


In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko successfully defended her women’s flyweight title, earning a unanimous decision over a determined Jennifer Maia. 


A -2000 favourite coming into the fight, Shevchenko took charge in the opening frame, surprisingly taking Maia down early and maintaining control to take the round.  In the second round however, a failed takedown attempt by Shevchenko allowed Maia to assume top position with two minutes left.  While Maia failed to land anything of significance her confidence was obviously buoyed and Shevchenko’s corner obviously concerned heading into round three.  Maia pressed Shevchenko up against the fence to begin the round but Shevchenko slipped free, moving the fight back to the centre.  With just over a minute left, Shevchenko landed an overhand left that hurt Maia, and followed through with a takedown. It was clearly a better round for the champion, giving her a 2-1 edge after three.  Shevchenko started the championship rounds landing more consistently, again taking Maia to the canvas.  It was a dominant round for Shevchenko and it was clear that Maia needed to take the champion out in the final stanza to pull off the upset. But Shevchenko, showing the class of a champion, landed some heavy blows and dominated the final round, leaving Maia bleeding profusely.  Maia fought hard but there was no doubt as to the outcome. 


The win marked the fourth successful title defense for Shevchenko, her dominance of the division leaving many wondering who will be the next to take a serious run at her title. 


Elsewhere on the main card, in a spirited welterweight slugfest, Tim Means defeated Mike Perry via unanimous decision.  Means weathered a first round choke attempt by Perry and proceeded to take over the fight, using a stinging jab to inflict some serious damage.  Perry swung for the fences, looking to take Means out but to no avail, with Means a deserving winner.  


Katlyn Chookagian bounced back from a defeat just six weeks ago to Jessica Andrade to upset favoured Cynthia Calvillo in a women’s flyweight tussle.  Chookagian kept pressing forward against Calvillo and held a decided edge in significant strikes over the first two rounds.  Calvillo fought gamely throughout but failed to muster a sustained attack to tilt the judges’ decision in her favour.  


In a rematch between lightweights, Paul Craig submitted Shogun Rua in the second round, Rua tapping under a barrage of ground and pound.  The two had fought to a highly contested draw earlier in the year, a battle that many thought that Craig had won. Craig made no mistake in this one, landing some effective leg kicks early and taking Rua to the mat easily in round two to set up the finish. 


In noteworthy action from the prelims, in what was expected to be a close fight in the women’s flyweight ranks, Antonina Shevchenko dominated Ariane Lipski, registering a second round tko.  The win capped a perfect night for the Shevchenko sisters who became the first sister tandem to fight on the same UFC card.  


Joaquin Buckley continued to impress, knocking out Jordan Wright with a devastating  left-right combination in the second round of their middleweight tilt.  Buckley came into this fight fresh off his spectacular spinning wheel kick knockout of Impa Kasanganay that captured the attention of fighters all over the world.  With two successive highlight reel knockouts on his 2020 resume Buckley is certainly a rising contender to be feared in the division. 


UFC Fight Night returns next week, the headline event a heavyweight clash between highly ranked contenders Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis.