Valentina was a 6-1 favorite, and you can’t say the odds makers were weird given how dominant she had been so far at 125, but Santos wasn’t one to be dominated.
In round 1, Valentina landed a nice counter straight and tried a takedown and failed but got her back taken and held from back Control for a couple of minutes, as Santos tried chokes. Valentina was landing defensive punches so round 1 could have went to her on damage.
Round 2 she was controlled on the ground for a heavy part of the round by Santos again, easy win for Santos that round.
Round 3 Valentina got more aggressive and again tried a takedown and just couldn’t do anything on the ground. But this round Valentina got the better of the striking, Outmatched in the striking, Santos switched back to grappling. Took Valentina down again and took back control again. And got close to some chokes. Like the first round Valentina did more damage but dominant positioning out the round in question. The headline photo is from the end of rojnd 3
Round 4. Anik let’s us know A clash of heads busted open Santos in round 3 and it’s sweeping badly. Then a headkick lands for Valentina but the ref stops the action because a groin strike landed first… hmm these are women lol. Bad news for Santos is that her eye is closing from the headbutt, and now with a one eyed opponent Valentina starts attacking almost exclusively the left side, the side with the damaged eye. Valentina is fighting like a woman who needs a finish and she might. Santos had seemed to give up the takedowns but with 20 seconds left she got one. Not enough to win the round. Easy round for Valentina.
Round 5. Santos corner tells her she needs to win the round “5 minutes to make history!” They tell her. Santos opens with an inside leg kick. Though DC and Michael are confident that Santos is up 3 rounds, the live odds are still 5-2 for Valentina. Santos gets mother takedown, and goes for back control against the cage. Schevchenko shakes it off though and it’s back to standing. Valentina lands a nice combo that stuns Santos. They trade keg kicks and Valentina gets a successful takedown! She lands in half guard, which Santos closes. Schevchenko manages to control the rest of the round.
Round 2 was easy for Santos and round 4 and 5 are easy for Schevchenko. 1 and 3 are the rounds in question, which conventional judges would normally favor the grappling those rounds I believe though Valentina did do more damage both rounds. Ultra close fight but you have to wonder how much the head hurt hurt Santos fight.