UFC 266 Preview: Valentina Shevchenko – Lauren Murphy

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 28: Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan celebrates her win over Julianna Pena in the women's Bantamweight division during the UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center on January 28, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 266, we will see a battle for the women’s flyweight title. The undisputed queen Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) is back to defend her crown against a very hungry challenger in “Lucky” Lauren Murphy (15-4).

There is a very good argument for Valentina Shevchenko being the best pound for pound fighter in terms of skillset on the UFC roster. This includes both women and men. She is tremendous wherever the fight goes and she’s become so dominant that it’s impressive when she loses a round.

Overall, Shevchenko is a perfect 7-0 at 125 pounds in the UFC. Every time we see her fight, she seems to improve which should be terrifying for fellow flyweights. However, a flyweight that is not intimidated is the challenger, Lauren Murphy.

Lauren Murphy has quite the inspiring story. She didn’t grow up a martial artist, but just decided that she wanted to compete and she dedicated her life to it. After starting her UFC career 2-4, Murphy has won five straight fights to earn this shot against Valentina Shevchenko.

UFC 266 Prediction

There is one thing I can guarantee in this fight and that’s that Lauren Murphy is not going to stop trying. Murphy is a gamer and she worked incredibly hard to get this shot at UFC 266. We’ve seen her show good grappling and striking during her run with the UFC.

Murphy does a lot of things well that would make her a threat to most. However, there is not a single thing that she does better than Valentina Shevchenko. Pick out any aspect of MMA and Valentina Shevchenko is better at it than Lauren Murphy.

I’m not trying to be disrespectful or Murphy, but it’s just reality. Valentina Shevchenko is truly something special and I believe she is going to put on another special performance at UFC 266. I think Murphy is tough enough to last throughout the fight, but she’s not good enough to win here. This will be a very one-sided fight.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by Unanimous Decision