Maia earned her title shot by seizing in the moment. Originally scheduled to face Viviane Araujo at UFC on ESPN 12, she instead faced Joanne Calderwood when Araujo tested positive for COVID-19. Calderwood, who previously had scheduled a title headliner against champ Valentina Shevchenko, wound up losing to Maia by submission and ceding a title opportunity. The upset win left Maia at 3-2 in the octagon before the biggest fight of her career – and a much-needed boost after two straight misses on the scale. Maia is a massive underdog heading into the fight against Shevchenko, who is as high as a +1000 favorite on several online betting websites.
Shevchenko is widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters in the world, to say nothing of the 125-pound division she rules. The Kyrgyzstan-born champ has won five straight bouts and soundly beaten all of her opposition at flyweight, defending the title on three occasions.
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