Both had strong moments, and the fight ended as Shevchenko, the smaller and lesser-known fighter, was taking over.
Shevchenko has gotten over the disappointment and is ready for the rematch.
Hopefully, this isn't the new Nunes, who fights overly-cautious now that she has the belt.
Many felt that the fight should have been stopped by the referee on several occasions or that Tucker's corner should have thrown in the towel.More news: Water empties from bay in Tampa, but folks warned: stay out
With the win, Nunes improves to 15-4; Shevchenko falls to 14-3. She controlled the center and had Shevchenko fighting with her back to the cage, but there was no display of the power that makes Nunes so risky. Nunes landed more significant strikes than Shevchenko in every round but the fifth, according to preliminary FightMetric data.
"This is the fight I want", she said.
The knock on Nunes for her entire career has been conditioning.
"Of course I was upset", she said.
Though there was a fair amount of criticism about the stature of the fight card, particularly after losing the UFC flyweight championship headliner, fans showed up to UFC 215 in droves. But when that force fails to get the job done, trouble isn't far in the distance. I don't understand why.More news: €40m winger: 'Liverpool the only club for me'
It was a night of mixed results for the Canadian contingent that hit the cage in Edmonton as the trio of competitors from British Columbia all emerged victorious, while the two other represents from the Great White North were on the business end of one-sided encounters on Saturday night. I also have a great boxing team around me to create more dynamic striking. Nunes also defended her title in a 48-second KO win over Ronda Rousey back on December 30. With either approach, failure to put Shevchenko away early would have assured a loss.
Nunes wants to be clear she didn't back down from the challenge.
Amanda Nunes discusses the flawless strategy for beating Valentina Shevchenko and what it means for the Oilers and Connor McDavid supporting her. Nunes, the champion, is coming in with a -105 money line.
Amanda Nunes stands alone at the top of the women's bantamweight division.
Nunes, who just destroyed two legends in Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, had to deal with a pro-Shevchenko crowd, not to mention the toughest opponent she has ever faced, in winning a split decision victory that was booed loudly. In a way, she proved herself as Nunes' equal.More news: Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson out for rest of 2017
The fight started slowly, with Nunes looking to conserve her energy and Shevchenko sitting back in the first round after temporarily dislocating a finger, but the action picked up in the second, with Shevchenko starting to counter the Brazilian world champion as Nunes looked to wear down the challenger.