The Ultimate Fighter
Valentina Shevchenko capped off a huge night of fights in Chicago with a shocking upset, as she knocked off former women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm with a unanimous decision victory after some early trouble to start the first round.
Holm clipped Shevchenko with a quick punch early in the fight, knocking “Bullet” to the ground for a split second before she regained her balance and got back to her feet. That one misstep ultimately ended up as Shevchenko's only real deficiency over five rounds, because she took over from there.
Using a counterstriking style that had Holm missing all night long, Shevchenko landed a far higher percentage of her shots while outclassing the former champion over the final four rounds. In the end, Shevchenko notched a decision win over Holm, bumping her record to 2-1 in the UFC, with her only loss coming by way of a very narrow decision to current champion Amanda Nunes.
More from Fight Night Chicago: Final results | Postfight bonus recap | Talking Points after Chicago | Shevchenko stuns Holm | Barboza, Ngannou, Herrig claim big wins | Wineland returns to Octagon with TKO win | Oliveira, Knight, Henrique claim victories | Backstage interviews: Valentina Shevchenko, Edson Barboza, Francis Ngannou, Felice Herrig, Eddie Wineland | Octagon interviews: Shevchenko and Holm, Edson Barboza | Watch the UFC FIGHT PASS prelims on-demand | Best images from Fight Night
Fantasy players were dealt a blow thanks to Shevchenko's win, after only 10 percent picked her to defeat Holm on Saturday night. Out of the 10 percent who did pick her to win, another 42 percent said Shevchenko would get the victory by decision, so that ended up as a huge gain for those players.
While Shevchenko pulled off the upset, Edson Barboza proved fantasy players correct after 74 percent picked him to beat Gilbert Melendez in the co-main event, with 54 percent selecting him to win by decision. Barboza brutalized Melendez's lead leg over all three rounds, damaging the former Strikeforce champion so bad that he could barely stand by the time the fight was over.
Francis Ngannou was another huge favorite going into the card, with 91 percent picking him to win and another 78 percent saying he'd get the win by knockout. Ngannou made short work of newcomer Bojan Mihajlovic with a quick and vicious first-round finish to keep him undefeated inside the Octagon.
Local favorite Felice Herrig returned to action after more than a year away from the sport and she delivered her most impressive performance to date as she dispatched Kailin Curran with a first-round rear naked choke. Herrig was selected by 59 percent of fantasy players, although 81 percent believed she'd get the job done by decision.
Either way, Herrig came through with a big victory in front of her hometown crowd in Chicago.
On the preliminary card, Eddie Wineland was another local favorite who came through with flying colors, as he put away Frankie Saenz in the third round after 69 percent of players picked him to win. Darren Elkins kept the ball rolling for the favorites after he put on a grinding performance to down Godofredo Pepey, with 67 percent of players selecting him to win and another 72 percent saying it would finish by decision.
Former Ultimate Fighter winner Kamaru Usman kept his undefeated record in the UFC intact with a dominant decision over Alexander Yakovlev, with 82 percent of players picking him to win and another 54 percent selecting him to win on the judges' scorecards.
Other big favorites to win on Saturday night included Michel Prazeres getting past JC Cottrell, with 71 percent of players on his side and 66 percent picking him by decision. He earned lopsided 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 scorecards in the end. Alex Oliveira also came through in a big way after 87 percent of players selected him to get a win over noted striker James Moontasri.
Jason Knight pulled off one of the bigger upsets to join Shevchenko at the top of the card after he earned a split decision nod over Jim Alers after three rounds. Only 26 percent of players believed Knight could beat Alers, but 52 percent of players did select him to get the nod by decision.