CHICAGO — Valentina Shevchenko was one of the biggest favorites in UFC title fight history, and she defended her belt with a highlight-reel finish for the ages.
Shevchenko (17-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) took out challenger Jessica Eye (14-7 MMA, 4-6 UFC) with a stunning and massive left kick to the head early in the second round. The kick left Eye out cold on the canvas for several minutes while cageside doctors attended to her. When she finally sat back up, it was to cheers from the fans that she was OK.
But the bigger cheers were for Shevchenko’s first defense of her women’s flyweight title as a favorite of roughly 14-1. The end came at the 0:26 mark of the second round after a dominant first for the champion.
The women’s flyweight title bout was the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 238 show at United Center in Chicago. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.
Eye took the center of the cage and immediately fired off a couple punches. Shevchenko answered with a body kick, then another. Eye looked like she wanted to end the fight with one big punch and whiffed on a right hand. Then Shevchenko ducked under another, clinched Eye up around the waist and dragged her to the canvas 45 seconds into the fight. Shevchenko went to work on the ground in half-guard while Eye defended from her back.
Shevchenko wasn’t able to do much damage from up top, though she twice worked her way to side control. And once Eye was able to get back to her feet, Shevchenko again took her down. Shevchenko locked up an armbar late in the round, but Eye rolled out of it to get to the second.
Shevchenko landed a solid kick to the body early in the second. And a moment later, with Eye moving in, Shevchenko threw a left head kick that drilled Eye perfectly in the side of the face. Eye fell to the canvas in slow motion, out cold well before she hit the mat. Her head bounced off the canvas for good measure. Shevchenko knew to not dive in for any more damage after one of the biggest highlight-reel finishes in UFC history.