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
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.
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.
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.
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