What’s next for Valentina Shevchenko after UFC 266?

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 266, Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) defended her flyweight title against Lauren Murphy (15-5). Murphy was not intimidated and really believed she could give the champion troubles on Saturday night.

However, Shevchenko maintained that this defense would be like all of the rest. She said that she would win no matter what at UFC 266 and walk out of the arena with the flyweight title.

Well, she was right again. UFC 266 was another one-sided fight from Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko never allowed Murphy to get off any offense throughout the evening. I think you could count on both hands how many strikes Murphy landed in the fight.

Shevchenko’s speed and strength was just too much for the challenger. In the fourth round, Shevchenko really started to pour it on and hurt Murphy badly. The champion unleashed vicious combinations that ultimately wilted the challenger. Shevchenko got her hand raised and retained her title by fourth round TKO.

What’s next after UFC 266?

There is nobody in the UFC’s flyweight division that can compete with Valentina Shevchenko. It’s very clear that nobody even has a prayer against her out of the options for her.

Amanda Nunes (21-4), rightfully so, is considered to be the greatest of all time. However, she’s been pushed in fights. We’ve seen Germaine De Randamie have success against Nunes.

But the biggest challenge Nunes has ever faced is Shevchenko. These two have fought twice before the UFC started the flyweight division. Shevchenko is smaller, but that didn’t really matter in their fight.

The first fight, it was clear that Nunes won. However, the second fight generated a lot of controversy. Nunes edged Shevchenko by split decision at UFC 215, but the world has been split on that fight. 20 media members scored the fight and they were perfectly split 10-10.

Personally, I scored the fight for Shevchenko. While it’s not popular to say, I think Shevchenko is the best overall female fighter in the UFC and I believe it’s time to set up the third fight between these two.

Now, Nunes has to win her fight in December against Julianna Pena. However, let’s be real, she’s not losing to Julianna Pena. After she wins, it’s time to book the trilogy. This is the fight every one wants and it’s the fight that should happen to truly determine who’s the best in the world.

Valentina Shevchenko demolishes Lauren Murphy at UFC 266

In the co-main event of UFC 266, we saw a battle for the women’s flyweight title. The undisputed queen Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) was defending 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 was not intimidated was 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 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 co-main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Murphy takes the center to start things and Shevchenko starts measuring her up. Low kick lands for Shevchenko and she also lands a nice right overhand.

Body kick lands for Shevchenko. Shevchenko holding the center here and Murphy is circling on the outside. Murphy tries to step in but Shevchenko evades the strikes. A lot of heat being thrown by the UFC champion early on.

Powerful body kick and a few powerful punches behind it lands for Valentina. Murphy tries to answer but nothing lands. Huge step in left straight for Shevchenko. Another left for Shevchenko and a body kick behind it.

Beautiful combination lands for the champion. Murphy lands her first strike of the fight and it’s a body kick. However, Shevchenko lands a big combination behind it. Another big combination from the champion. Powerful left hand lands for Shevchenko.

Right hook now from Shevchenko and Murphy is starting to swell up. Spinning backfist from the champion and then she comes up with a headkick. Dominant opening round by the UFC champ who ends the round with a big takedown.

Round 2

Entering the second here at UFC 266 and I don’t know how in the world Lauren Murphy is supposed to win this fight. The second starts with Murphy coming forward but she’s looking very gun shy here.

A clinch exchange here and Murphy actually gets the better position. She pushes the champion against the fence and she’s trying to get a takedown here. Murphy working hard here for a takedown, but Shevchenko is defending well and separates.

Good combination lands for Shevchenko. Murphy tries to push forward but eats a big right from the champ. Good jab lands for Shevchenko and then she lands back-to-back body kicks.

Murphy tries to get a takedown but Shevchenko gets the body lock and throws Murphy to the ground. Shevchenko settles into the halfguard with two minutes left in the round.

The champion starts trying to pass and you have to think she’s going to try and get to her crucifix position. However, Murphy defends well. The round comes to a close and it’s another dominant one for the UFC champion.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 266 and Murphy really needs to get something going. Shevchenko opens in the center and she starts the striking with a nice kick. Murphy tries to come forward but eats a crisp counter hook from the champion.

Every time that Murphy advances she’s getting clipped by Shevchenko. Spinning back kick just misses from the champion. Big 1-2 lands for Shevchenko. Huge counter right hand lands for Shevchenko on a Murphy entry.

Two big kicks land for Shevchenko. Another brutal combination lands from the champion. Front kick to the body lands for Murphy and Shevchenko responds with multiple big shots.

Big leg kick and a nice 1-2 behind it from the champion. Shevchenko keeps throwing head kicks that are just missing the mark. Big jab from the champion. Murphy tries a superman punch and doesn’t come remotely close.

Shevchenko responds with a big combination. Brutal body kick lands for Shevchenko. Powerful leg kick lands for the champion. Another dominant round in the books for the UFC flyweight queen.

Round 4

Entering the fourth round and Shevchenko has bagged all three rounds at UFC 266. Pressure from the champion to start the fourth and she starts the striking with two good low kicks.

Murphy responds with a nice body kick. 1-2 and a big right hook lands for Shevchenko. Shevchenko pressing on the gas here a big more in the fourth and she lands a few really nice left hands.

Body kick from the champion finds it’s home. 1-2 followed by a big calf kick from Shevchenko. Nice body kick from Shevchenko and then she comes up top with a front kick that just misses.

The champion is locked in and she rocks Murphy badly. Shevchenko pouring it on here and Murphy is just trying to survive. Murphy is able to grab ahold of Shevchenko on the ground and it looks like she’s going to survive but she was hurt badly.

Big elbows from Shevchenko and now she’s pouring it on again. The referee stops the action and once again, pure dominance from the flyweight queen.

Valentina Shevchenko def. Lauren Murphy by TKO – Round 4

UFC 266 Preview: Valentina Shevchenko – Lauren Murphy

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

Volkanovski – Ortega and Shevchenko – Murphy booked for UFC 266

The UFC is planning a massive event for their September PPV. First we learned earlier today that the matchup between Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) and Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC) was finalized for UFC 266 on September 25th.

The rematch between the two legends will be a five-round, non-title, non-main event matchup. This is only the second time that the UFC has ever done this. Nate Diaz – Leon Edwards was the first matchup to get the non-main event five-round treatment.

Now, we have learned that the promotion is adding two title fights on top of it. Dana White confirmed with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this evening that the promotion had finalized a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and top contender Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

Both men are fresh off of their coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter and they are ready to battle it out. Originally, the two men were supposed to fight back in March. However, the UFC featherweight champion came down with COVID and the fight got pushed back.

The delay ended up being a blessing in disguise as the two men coached on TUF which created more intrigue around the matchup. While this featherweight title fight is exciting, it’s not the only title fight that’s heading to UFC 266.

UFC flyweight title on the line

White also told ESPN this evening that the flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3), will be defending her title against Lauren Murphy (15-4). The matchup will be the co-main event of UFC 266.

Murphy has won five fights in a row on her way to earning this shot at Shevchenko. She’s also one of the few flyweights in the top ten that hasn’t had a chance to fight Shevchenko. On September 25th, she will get her chance.

Lauren Murphy is going to be a massive betting underdog and for good reason. You can easily make the argument that skill-for-skill, Valentina Shevchenko is the best female fighter on the planet. Honestly, it is something truly special to watch her compete inside the octagon.

The only losses she has in the UFC have come against Amanda Nunes at 135 pounds. Granted, I still maintain that I thought Shevchenko won the last time they fought. At flyweight, Shevchenko is a perfect 7-0. During that stretch, she has four finishes and in her three decisions, she’s lost a grand total of two rounds.

With a win at UFC 263, did Lauren Murphy earn a shot at the flyweight title?

Lauren Murphy, UFC

This past Saturday on the prelims of UFC 263, we saw a pivotal matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Top six contenders went head-to-head in a potential title eliminator as Lauren Murphy (15-4) took on Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-6).

The fight was extremely close on Saturday night. In the first round, both ladies were able to do some solid work on the feet. It was an extremely tough round to score and I could have seen an argument for either fighter getting the nod in the first round.

The second round was all Lauren Murphy. Murphy was able to secure a takedown early and she controlled the entire round from the top position. In the third round, Murphy was not able to get Calderwood back to the ground.

Both of the fighters slugged it out in the third round at UFC 263, but Calderwood clearly got the better of the striking exchanges. With that, the two went to the scorecards. It was clear who won the second and third round, but the first was very much up in the air.

I could have easily seen three outcomes based on those three rounds. All three of these were arguable at UFC 263: Murphy by decision, draw, Calderwood by decision. It all would come down to how the second round was scored and who won the first round.

In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight to “Lucky” Lauren Murphy. A massive win for her as she made it five in a row in the UFC.

What’s next after UFC 263?

As mentioned, Lauren Murphy has put together five consecutive wins in the flyweight division. The only one above her in terms of consecutive wins is the current flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3).

Murphy was vocal after her last win at UFC 254 in October that she wanted a shot at the title. Of course, Jessica Andrade ended up getting the shot and was thoroughly dominated by the champion at UFC 261.

Having won her fifth in a row, is Lauren Murphy next? Well, I have to say that I would personally give her the shot. She’s won five in a row and she’s the only one in the top four who hasn’t had a crack at Shevchenko yet.

Dana White didn’t commit to giving her the next UFC title shot, but he acknowledge that it’s a real possibility. Really, there’s only one other top contender who has an argument and that’s Katlyn Chookagian (16-4).

Chookagian holds a victory over Lauren Murphy and she’s currently ranked second in the division ahead of Murphy. However, Chookagian did get a shot against Shevchenko last year and was dominated by the champion.

I don’t want to see Murphy fight Chookagian again and I personally don’t want to see Chookagian fight Shevchenko again right now. I think it’s time that Lauren Murphy gets her UFC title shot. It’s a new fight for the division and Murphy has earned it with five consecutive wins in the flyweight division.

After dominant win at UFC 261, what’s next for Valentina Shevchenko?

This past Saturday at UFC 261 we got to see a flyweight title fight that the world was intrigued by. The undisputed flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) defended her title against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-9).

Heading into the fight, the UFC and Dana White really hyped up the former strawweight champion to build interest. The thought was that the power and pure strength of Andrade could give Valentina Shevchenko problems she has yet to deal with.

However, let’s not forget that Shevchenko has fought 40 minutes with Amanda Nunes (21-4). Nevertheless, the UFC was building up Andrade was a truly formattable challenger for the title.

Well, on Saturday night, Valentina Shevchenko made a massive statement to everyone. Dana White said that Shevchenko fought like a demon at UFC 261 who was pissed off at everyone.

Shevchenko did what everyone said Andrade needed to do at UFC 261. She engaged Andrade in the clinch and in close quarters. However, Andrade couldn’t do anything and Shevchenko showed just how strong she is.

Shevchenko ragdolled the former UFC strawweight champion on Saturday night. There wasn’t one aspect of the fight that she didn’t dominate. In the second round, she secured the crucifix position off of a powerful takedown and got the TKO win.

What’s next after UFC 261?

At UFC 261, Valentina Shevchenko once again proved that there are levels to this game and nobody is even close to hers at 125 pounds. She’s so far ahead of the rest of these ladies it’s not even funny.

The thing that makes her so special is how well-rounded she is as a martial artist. She has elite striking, elite grappling and she’s stronger than most of the bantamweights on the roster.

The only person on the entire UFC roster that can compete with Shevchenko is Amanda Nunes. This is not an exaggeration or being a victim of the moment, but I truly believe that Shevchenko is the second greatest female mixed martial artist we’ve ever seen.

She is inches behind Nunes and if you have a hard time believing that, watch their second fight from UFC 215. Personally, I scored that fight for Shevchenko and if she would’ve won that split decision, she would be called the greatest.

In my perfect world, I would love to see the trilogy between these two ladies, but Dana White has dismissed that. In terms of the next contender at flyweight, there are a couple of upcoming UFC matchups to watch.

A few weeks from now, Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) takes on Viviane Araujo (10-2) at UFC 262. Then, in June, Lauren Murphy (14-4) takes on JoJo Calderwood (15-5). One of these four ladies will get the next crack at the champion. My only advice to whoever gets that shot is good luck because you’re going to need it.

UFC books JoJo Calderwood – Lauren Murphy

Just as the action was getting under way at UFC 260, we learned some breaking news. MMA Junkie was the first to report this evening that the promotion has finalized a matchup between top flyweight contenders Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5) and Lauren Murphy (14-4).

The matchup will take place at UFC 263 which is scheduled for June 12th. Calderwood will enter the contest as the sixth ranked flyweight in the UFC. She will be looking to take another step towards a shot at the flyweight title.

Last year, Calderwood was set to challenge for the flyweight title. The UFC booked her against Valentina Shevchenko in June. However, the champion suffered a knee injury and needed more time to prepare.

Instead of waiting on the sidelines, Calderwood decided to take a fight against Jennifer Maia. This ultimately proved to be a massive mistake as Maia would submit Calderwood in the first round and take her title shot.

Calderwood returned back at UFC 257 in January where she met Jessica Eye. She put on a very good performance and walked away with a decision win. This is going to be a massive fight for her on June 12th.

UFC title eliminator?

Lauren Murphy has been on quite the run in the UFC since 2019. Since the calendar turned over to 2019, Murphy has won four consecutive fights including wins over Andrea Lee and Roxanne Modafferi.

In her last fight, Murphy secured her first submission win at UFC 254. After the fight was over, Murphy said that she wanted a title shot. However, given her status in the division, that was always going to be a long shot.

Murphy is currently ranked third in the flyweight division. If she’s able to come out at UFC 263 and put on a dominant performance against JoJo Calderwood, it’s going to be hard to deny her of a shot at the title. Should be an excellent fight on June 12th.

After her big win at UFC 258, what’s next for Alexa Grasso?

This past Saturday at UFC 258, the women’s flyweight division was on display in the co-main event. One of the promotion’s top prospects, Maycee Barber (8-2), was making her return against Alexa Grasso (13-3).

Barber has claimed for the last couple of years that she was going to be the youngest champion in UFC history. Those plans were derailed by a knee injury and a loss last year, but she insisted that she was going to make a statement at UFC 258.

Alexa Grasso was making her second appearance in the flyweight division. After spending years depleting herself to make 115, Grasso moved up to 125. The decision to move up to the flyweight division was the best possible decision Grasso could have made.

When the fight started on Saturday, Barber seemed anxious while Grasso seemed calm and composed. Through the first two rounds, anytime Barber would come forward, Grasso would sting her with beautiful combinations.

What really impressed me was the fact that Barber couldn’t even get the advantage in the grappling. Grasso controlled most of the grappling exchanges at UFC 258 which I think nobody anticipated going into the fight.

In the third round, Barber went all out trying to get a finish. You have to give her credit for that, and Grasso withstood the storm from Barber. While Barber took the final round, Grasso walked away with her hand raised on Saturday night.

What’s next after UFC 258?

The UFC’s flyweight division has a very exciting new contender in Alexa Grasso. I’m very interested to see how the promotion moves her forward after her big win on Saturday night. With that, they have a couple of different paths.

The first path is giving her a slight step up in the rankings in terms of opponents. With that, you’d have someone like Viviane Araujo (10-2) who is currently ranked seventh. I think that would be a fantastic matchup and a lot of fun for the fans.

However, if they want to move her up quicker than that, perhaps a matchup against Lauren Murphy (14-4) or Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) could be next. If that’s what Grasso got next, she could just be one win away from a UFC title shot.

Again, it’ll be very interesting to see how the promotion goes with her. Either way, it’s exciting times in the flyweight division.

What’s next for JoJo Calderwood after UFC 257?

This past Saturday at UFC 257, Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5) took on Jessica Eye (15-9, 1 NC) on the PPV main card. Both of these flyweight contenders had a lot on the line on Saturday night.

Whoever won this fight was going to be in a position where they could get a top five opponent next. However, a loss would put them way back in the UFC flyweight division. Calderwood had a lot to prove on Saturday night.

Originally, JoJo Calderwood was supposed to get a UFC title shot back in June of last year. However, Valentina Shevchenko injured her knee and the fight was scrapped. The promotion offered to allow Calderwood to wait for the title shot.

However, Calderwood wanted to stay active. She said that she didn’t want a lengthy layoff leading into her first UFC title shot. With that in mind, she took a fight against Jennifer Maia. She was submitted in the first round and as a result, lost her UFC title shot.

At UFC 257, she had the chance to get back on track and that’s what she did. Over the course of three rounds, Calderwood used her effective kicks and knees to keep Eye at range. She mixed up her shots well and was able to walk away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC 257?

As mentioned, Calderwood was supposed to get a title shot last year. With this win at UFC 257, I think she’s right back near that conversation. However, she’s going to need one more win to get that shot at the title.

In looking at the rankings, I believe there are a couple of matchups that make a lot of sense for Calderwood. For Calderwood’s next fight, I would pair her up against either Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) or Lauren Murphy (14-4).

Both of those contenders are near a title shot, however, we already know that Jessica Andrade is getting the next crack at the UFC title. Chookagian and Murphy should honestly fight, however, Murphy doesn’t seem interested in that matchup.

I think the promotion should put Calderwood against one of those two contenders with a title shot on the line. Again, Calderwood was supposed to get the shot before Shevchenko was hurt. She still deserves to be in the conversation.

If the UFC pairs up Calderwood with one of those two, the winner would be in a great position to challenge the winner of Shevchenko – Andrade. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation at flyweight plays out.

UFC: State of the women’s flyweight division entering 2021

Arguably the most dominant champion in any UFC division is Valentina Shevchenko (20-3). Shevchenko is the queen of the flyweight division and she has shown that she’s head and shoulders above the competition at 125 pounds.

She has been so dominant that people lose their minds when she loses a round as she did at UFC 255. Shevchenko just defended her title last month against a very game, Jennifer Maia (18-7-1).

Nobody in the world believed that Maia could hang with Shevchenko. However, Maia was able to win a round and make it competitive. Well, as competitive as a fight can be when one person loses four of the five rounds.

Simply put, Valentina Shevchenko is at a different level. The UFC flyweight champion has only lost twice inside the octagon. Both of those losses came to two-division champion, Amanda Nunes.

However, many believe that Shevchenko won the second matchup which Nunes took by split decision. Nevertheless, when the flyweight division was created, the UFC created it with Valentina Shevchenko in mind.

UFC Flyweight in 2021

As we head into the new year, we already know what is going to be first for Valentina Shevchenko. The first challenger will be former UFC strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade (21-8).

Andrade is now competing in her third weight class in the UFC. She started at bantamweight when it was the only division. However, she was much smaller than all of her competition.

When the strawweight division was created, she dropped twenty pounds to compete there. She captured UFC gold, but it still didn’t appear to be her natural weight class. Finally at 125, she seems to have found the perfect fit.

In her debut, she finished former title challenger, Katlyn Chookagian (15-4), in the first round. A matchup between Shevchenko and Andrade should be a lot of fun for fight fans. No word on when this matchup will take place.

Outside of the title fight, there is another compelling matchup in the division that should be made. That would be the rematch between Chookagian and top contender, Lauren Murphy (14-4).

The two fought back in 2016 with Chookagian picking up the win. However, Murphy has now won four in a row which has placed her third in the rankings. A matchup between the two could be a title eliminator.

One storyline to watch out for in the UFC‘s flyweight division in 2021 is a potential champion versus champion super fight. Weili Zhang (21-1) is the UFC’s strawweight champion and widely considered one of the best in the world.

If she’s able to defend her title once or twice successfully in 2021, I wouldn’t rule out her moving up to challenge Shevchenko. Dana White has already said that he likes the idea. The flyweight division is definitely one to watch in 2021.