Valentina Shevchenko successfully showed her dominance once again with a split-decision win over Taila Santos in the co-main event of UFC 275 from Kallang, Singapore.
The first round featured a rare moment of vulnerability for the champion. Santos took advantage of a miscalculation from the champion and took her back in transition from the clinch.
Santos had a body triangle and fished for a rear-naked choke after a neck crank but couldn't get anything locked in.
The 28-year-old's title bid became even more real in the second round. She was once again able to get the fight to the ground and held top position. Despite a gogoplata attempt from the champ, she held control over much of the round.
Santos met some unfortunate adversity in the fourth round. As Shevchenko started a combination, the two combatants butted heads and Santos' eye swelled shut as a result.
The fifth round saw both fighters have their moments. The competitive round put an inconclusive end to a fight that wasn't an easy one to score.
It's been established throughout Bullet's reign as the flyweight champion that she is the best fighter in the weight class.
Her win over Santos gives her seven consecutive title defenses. That run has included wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Katlyn Chookagian and Jessica Andrade.
Of course, when someone has dominated a division for as long as she has, the next question inevitably becomes centered on a superfight. Shevchenko has already fought former bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes twice.
Her two losses to the Lioness are the only ones under the UFC banner. This win may have set up a trilogy if Nunes hadn't fought for the title, but Shevchenko has already spoken on the possibility of fighting current champion Julianna Pena.
“Definitely Julianna has all the chances to win, but if Amanda is gonna be in the same fight shape as when she fought me, I think she will get back her belt, and we are gonna still come back for this third fight,” Shevchenko said, per Nicolas Atkin of the South China Morning Post. “Either way I don’t care really. I can fight both of them at the same time, like whatever."
At this point, a fight with whoever is holding the bantamweight belt after Pena and Nunes' rematch is the only obvious answer for who Shevchenko should see next. She's proved time and time again to be too much for the contenders at 125 pounds.