A new year is on the horizon, and that means it’s time for Combat Press to take a look back at the best of MMA in 2020. In the coming days, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
Female Fighter of the Year
Two female fighters stood out this year. They are champions who defended their titles and showed why they are worthy of sitting atop their respective decisions. Weili Zhang put on an instant classic in March at UFC 248 against former strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk and walked away with a split-decision victory. That performance alone earned her runner-up honors this year for the Combat Press Female Fighter of the Year.
The clear choice for the award, however, is the woman who successfully defended her belt twice and lost only one round across her two outings in 2020. Valentina Shevchenko picked up her third title defense with a third-round stoppage of Katlyn Chookagian that started with a body shot in an utterly dominant performance. Her follow-up showing was a fourth defense of her championship with a unanimous-decision victory over the very durable Jennifer Maia. In both outings, Shevchenko displayed a level of precision, technique and dominance that left no doubt about her standing as the current greatest female flyweight fighter on the planet.
With a division short on challengers that can provide a legitimate threat to Shevchenko, she is in prime position as an early favorite for repeat honors. For now, Shevchenko takes the Combat Press distinction as the 2020 Female Fighter of the Year.
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