Since dropping down to flyweight, not only has Valentina Shevchenko become the UFC women’s champion in that division, she’s looked downright invincible.
Shevchenko (18-3) picked apart and dominated former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant flyweight crown. From there, she bludgeoned Jessica Eye with a frightening head kick to retain her title and then on Saturday, “Bullet” was virtually flawless for five rounds in vanquishing Liz Carmouche.
Shevchenko’s landslide unanimous decision win over Carmouche in the main event of UFC Fight Night 156 in Uruguay on Saturday might not have been an entertaining slugfest that many were hoping for, but it was a testament to the Kyrgyzstani’s brilliance as a fighter. Carmouche couldn’t get anything going offensively and wound up getting completely shut out on the scorecards, giving Shevchenko her second successful title defense.
“I am feeling good that I had the opportunity to defend my belt one more time,” she said after toppling Carmouche. “I knew Liz was a really experienced fighter and had a very sensitive timing, always looking for flaws in her opponents' game, so I knew I had to be prepared for that.”
Shevchenko was proud to anchor the Las Vegas-based promotion’s inaugural event in Uruguay. The UFC is always looking expand into new territories across the globe, and the promotion wants to hold events with popular and important stars at the top of the marquee.
“We made history today fighting on the first UFC event in Uruguay,” she said. “It was an amazing event, and I am really happy to have been part of it. I would like to come back to this country and get to know more about it.”
Amanda Nunes remains a popular choice when it comes to finding a next opponent for Shevchenko, who is outclassing the competition at 125 pounds. The two-division champion is one of two women to ever best Shevchenko in an MMA match (Carmouche being the other), but both meetings were closely-contested affairs.
But as tempting as a third fight between Shevchenko and “Lioness” is for everybody who follows the sport, “Bullet” was quick to shoot it down.
“I see more Amanda maybe, but not next, and not right now,” Shevchenko stated on the ESPN+ post-fight program. “My goal [is a lot of title defenses] for now. I was fighting for so long in different weight classes, and every time against a bigger, heavier, taller opponent. It makes all the difference. Now, I finally have the opportunity to fight against the same-sized opponent.”
It appears as though the Nunes fight won’t be happening anytime soon. Shevchenko mentioned on the show that she has interest in still fighting Katlyn Chookagian, who accepted the fight with Shevchenko but withdrew her name due to personal issues. Regardless of whoever Shevchenko takes on in her next outing, it will most certainly be at flyweight, a division she plans on dominating for a long, long time.