Jessica Andrade is taking on a champion…
The 29-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former strawweight champion is set to take on defending UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White.
The 125-pound title fight will take place at the April 24 pay-per-view event, for which the UFC hasn’t yet finalized a location. It will mark Shevchenko’s fifth attempted title defense.
Shevchenko (20-3) has dominated the weight class since she dropped to 125 pounds from 135 pounds in 2018. She won the vacant belt by defeating another former strawweight champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk in late 2018, then has looked more or less unbeatable in defenses against Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia.
Andrade (21-8) is widely perceived as the greatest threat to Shevchenko’s reign.
She won the UFC’s 115-pound championship by knocking out Rose Namajunas in May 2019 before surrendering the belt to current champ Zhang Weili three months later. She moved up to the 125-pound division in October, and scored a first-round knockout over Chookagian.
ESPN ranks Shevchenko and Andrade the No. 2 and No. 6 female pound-for-pound fighters in the world, respectively.