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UFC 196 results recap: Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko fight review and analysis

Last night (Sat., March 5, 2016), Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko dueled at UFC 196 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a back-and-forth battle, Nunes came out on top. Find out how below!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Watch the incredible video highlights from UFC 196 last night!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight contenders Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko battled last night (March 5, 2016) at UFC 196 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nunes has proven herself a dynamic finisher, one of the best in her division. If she could move past her experienced opponent in similar fashion, Nunes would be in great position to earn a title shot.

Similarly, Shevchenko established herself as a top contender recently. However, the kickboxing veteran accomplished that feat in just a single short-notice victory, and another victory last night would make her rise to the top quite incredible.

In an unexpected turn of events, the first round went rather slowly. Both women picked their shots slowly and were less than active. In particular, Shevchenko barely opened up at all, allowing her foe to run away with the round. Then, to really seal the round, Nunes scored with a takedown and finished on top.

It wasn't pretty, but it was a clear round for Nunes.

Nunes didn't waste much time in throwing her opponent back to the mat. Working from the half guard, Nunes brutalized her opponent with some hard elbows, opening some cuts. At one point, Shevchenko utilized a nice roll to return to her feet.

However, Nunes simply muscled her back to the ground.

Back on the mat, Nunes advanced into back mount. From that position, Nunes attacked with some punches and a deep rear naked choke, but "Bullet" stayed tough and defend.

Near the end of the round, Shevchenko reversed into guard, but it was far too little to win back the round.

Shevchenko needed a finish to win this bout, and she knew it. The Russian fighter started the round scoring with some big strikes and reversed a takedown into side control, where she attacked with elbows and an Americana.

With three minutes remaining, Nunes worked back to her feet but was clearly tired. While Shevchenko did put it on her and clearly win the round with some damaging strikes, she never turned it up enough to really push for the finish.

Ultimately, the judges correctly awarded Nunes the decision for her work in the first two rounds.

This was a strong performance by Nunes, who showed the ability to pace herself for the first time in her career. Normally, Nunes falls flat in fights that drag on past the opening frame, but this time she was dominant in the second and built up enough of a lead to ride out the victory.

Nunes' strength advantage was quite obvious here. She simply manhandled the Russian in clinch exchanges and routinely held top position in scrambles, which allowed her to do major damage.

Following this win, Nunes is definitely up for a title shot. Depending on when Rousey returns, Nunes is either up next or will challenge for the belt following "Rowdy's" return.

Either way, it should be interesting.

For Shevchenko, this revealed a couple of the flaws in her game. Perhaps most importantly, Shevchenko's bottom game needs work, as she did a poor job scrambling up or even keeping herself safe from ground and pound. It's obviously difficult against such a physical beast like "Lioness," but Shevchenko wasn't even trying to do the right things.

Additionally, Shevchenko's size will make defeating the elite difficult. That's not exactly her fault -- there's no women's Flyweight division for her to drop down to -- so it's something to consider in the future.

On the bright side, Shevchenko's kickboxing looked nasty in the final round when she opened up. If she can strike like that consistently, she's still an elite Bantamweight.

Last night, Amanda Nunes battered Valentina Shevchenko en route to a decision win. Can the Brazilian hold a title?

For complete UFC 196 "McGregor vs Diaz" results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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