Valentina Shevchenko is ready to return to the Octagon after six months away. She will be taking on former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade on the UFC 261 card. This event will take place on April 24 with the location still unknown. For the last year, the UFC has only held events in Las Vegas or in Abu Dhabi at Fight Island. One of these two places would seem likely for this event, although many locations around the United States are beginning to allow fans in attendance of limited capacity.
Shevchenko last graced the Octagon in November of 2020 when she defeated Jennifer Maia and retained her title for the fourth time. She now looks to make her fifth title defense against an always-dangerous Andrade. Since coming to the UFC back in 2015, Shevchenko has been dominant. Her only two losses in the UFC have come from Amanda Nunes and both at bantamweight. Since making the drop to flyweight in 2018 she has been unbeatable and has proven that 125 pounds is her true weight class.
As for Andrade, she has had some success in two weight classes. She did hold the title at strawweight before losing it to current champion Zhang Weili. She made the move to flyweight and defeated top-ranked Katlyn Chookagian at UFC Fight Island 6 by a first-round TKO. Andrade possesses real power and could showcase that in this fight with Shevchenko. Both ladies like to stand and let their striking do the talking. It will be an interesting fight and one that could go down as a fight of the night.
There is no word yet whether this fight will be the headliner, but the UFC was been putting multiple title fights of Pay-Per-View events as of late. Right now the only other division without a championship bout scheduled is lightweight, flyweight, welterweight, middleweight, and strawweight.