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The gulf between Valentina Shevchenko and the rest of the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s flyweight division remains as wide as ever.
“Bullet” showed no signs of weakness and dominated in all phases, as she captured a lopsided unanimous decision against Liz Carmouche to retain her flyweight title in the UFC Fight Night 156 headliner on Saturday at Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uruguay. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 50-45 for the incomparable Shevchenko (18-3, 7-2 UFC).
Carmouche (13-7, 5-5 UFC) did not stand much of a chance and looked like a fighter who knew it. Her passivity played right into Shevchenko’s hands, as the champion tore into her with leg kicks, front kicks to the body, lightning-quick punching bursts and even a few spinning backfists. She also handled Carmouche on the ground, as she stymied the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in top position across significant chunks of time.
Shevchenko, 31, has rattled off four straight wins and appears to have an absolute stranglehold on the 125-pound weight class.
Luque Edges Perry, Extends Streak
Hard Knocks 365 export Vicente Luque continued his steady rise on the welterweight ladder in the co-main event, where he eked out a split decision over Mike Perry across three grueling rounds at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Luque (17-6-1, 10-2 UFC).
Neither man left the cage unscathed. Luque worked over the Floridian with surgical strikes, weathered volleys of power punches and zeroed in on the leg with kicks. Bleeding from cuts near both eyes, Perry (13-5, 6-5 UFC) trudged forward with little regard for his well-being. Even as a flush knee strike from Luque shattered his nose during one exchange, “Platinum Mike” kept on firing rights and lefts, upstairs and to the body. The Brazilian answered an attempted takedown from Perry with a guillotine choke in the third round, and despite the absence of a submission, he squeezed copious amounts of blood from his counterpart’s rearranged face.
Luque, 27, will carry a six-fight winning streak into his next assignment.
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Undefeated Garagorri Denies Bandenay
Luiz Eduardo Garagorri made history as the first Uruguayan fighter to compete inside the Octagon and kept his perfect professional record intact, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Humberto Bandenay in a three-round featherweight affair. Garagorri (13-0, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges.
Bandenay (14-7, 1-3 UFC) was too slow on the trigger. Garagorri beat him to the punch repeatedly, maintained heavy pressure throughout and withstood a few punching volleys from the Team Oyama representative. Bandenay tried to change the trajectory of the bout with takedowns but failed to consolidate them with control or damage, allowing his opponent to scoot to the fence and stand.
The 24-year-old Bandenay has dropped three fights in a row since his sensational 26-second knockout of Martin Bravo a little more than two years ago.
Oezdemir Flattens Overmatched Latifi
Volkan Oezdemir closed the book on a career-worst three-fight losing streak with a masterful performance, as he wiped out Ilir Latifi with punches in the second round of their light heavyweight pairing. Latifi (14-7, 7-5 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:31 into Round 2.
Oezdemir (16-4, 4-3 UFC) seized control from the start and never relinquished it. The 29-year-old Swiss standout brutalized Latifi with flying knees, stinging right hands, close-range elbows and even shoulder strikes. A fatigued Latifi retreated to his corner at the conclusion of the first round with extensive damage to his right eye. His situation did not improve after the 60-second break. Oezdemir stepped on the gas in the middle stanza, knocked down “The Sledgehammer” with a clean knee strike, reset himself and cracked him with two left hooks, the second of which had Latifi kissing the canvas at the base of the fence.
The win was Oezdemir’s first since February 2018.
Vieira Chokes Dismisses Piechota
Multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and 2015 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Rodolfo Vieira submitted Oskar Piechota with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of their middleweight showcase. Piechota (11-2-1, 2-2 UFC) conceded defeat 4:26 into Round 2.
Still rough around the edges from an MMA standpoint, Vieira (6-0, 1-0 UFC) struggled to impose his will on the former Cage Warriors titleholder at the start. Piechota put some damage on the Brazilian but could not keep him at bay forever. Vieira swooped in on a takedown late in the second round, advanced to mount and cinched the arm-triangle for the tap.
Piechota has suffered back-to-back setbacks.
Barzola Outpoints Moffett in Firefight
“The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” Season 2 winner Enrique Barzola posted his fifth victory in six appearances, as he took a split decision from Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Bobby Moffett in a crackling three-round featherweight feature. Judge Eric Colon saw it 29-28 for Moffett, while Phillipe Iorio and Joseph Terrell struck 30-27 and 29-28 scorecards for Barzola.
They pushed a maniacal pace for the better part of 15 minutes, with Barzola (16-4-1, 6-2 UFC) often controlling the center of the cage. The left hook was the American Kickboxing Academy-trained Peruvian’s primary weapon, though he mixed in right uppercuts and Superman punches on occasion. Barzola also integrated takedowns at opportune times, shifting gears and keeping his counterpart off-balance. Moffett (14-5, 1-2 UFC) had his moments, particularly with leg kicks and spontaneous punching bursts, but left something to be desired in the eyes of two judges.
Moffett, 29, now finds himself on a two-fight losing streak for the first time as a pro.
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