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.

UFC: Tatiana Suarez medically cleared and targeting September return

One of the top women’s prospects in the UFC is getting ready to make her return. After more than two years away from the octagon, Tatiana Suarez (8-0) has been cleared to make her UFC return.

Before a string of injuries, Suarez was being looked at as a future champion. The 30 year old last competed at UFC 238 when she defeated Nina Nunes by Unanimous Decision.

Prior that that win, Suarez had stoppage victories over Alexa Grasso and former UFC champion Carla Esparza. She was one of the top strawweights in the world prior to a string of bad luck and injuries.

After her last fight, Suarez had been dealing with a recurring bulging disc in her neck. This is the main thing that kept her out for over a year and a half. She was then cleared to resume training back in February.

However, the top UFC prospect then suffered a concussion and broke her hand while wrestling with her boyfriend. These injuries further delayed the return of Suarez.

However, Suarez told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani today that she’s been cleared and she’s targeting a September return. Suarez also told Helwani that she will be switching weight classes upon her UFC return.

New UFC Flyweight

The top contender said that she would be moving up to flyweight when she makes her UFC return. Suarez said, “Maybe if I’m not cutting too much weight at all, I’ll be a little more stronger and explosive.”

This is a welcomed addition to the flyweight division assuming all goes well with her UFC return. Suarez is truly one of the better female fighters in the world when she is at her base and the flyweight division needs new contenders.

Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) has completely dominated the division with no challenges. Suarez could provide a strong challenge to the queen and that is something that Suarez is already thinking about.

“I do think I have a good skill set in terms of my wrestling that can give her (Shevchenko) trouble,” Suarez said.

What’s next for Jessica Andrade after UFC 261?

This past Saturday at UFC 261, Jessica Andrade (21-9) was trying to capture the flyweight title. To do that, she was tasked with taking on arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3).

Andrade is a powerhouse of a female fighter. She is known for her strength and her incredible power. The flyweight division is actually her third weight class since joining the UFC.

When she broke through with the promotion, she started with the bantamweight division because that was her only choice. When the strawweight division opened up, Andrade dropped 20 pounds to 115.

Andrade rose to the top and became the UFC strawweight champion. However, her strawweight run ended with back-to-back losses. After two straight defeats, Andrade moved to what is considered her natural weight class of 125 pounds.

In her first fight, she took on Katlyn Chookagian. Andrade’s power was on full display and she stopped the top flyweight contender in the first round. Afterwards, the UFC immediately started hyping up the fight between Andrade and Shevchenko.

Many people expected Jessica Andrade to give Valentina Shevchenko problems at UFC 261. Well, that wasn’t the case. The fight ended up being extremely one-sided and Shevchenko retained her title with a second round TKO.

What’s next after UFC 261?

Valentina Shevchenko sent a massive message to Jessica Andrade on Saturday night. Andrade is known for her power takedowns and fighting in close. Many thought if the fight took place in close quarters that she would have the advantage.

Well, the UFC flyweight champion made a point to keep the fight in close quarters to show that she has no weaknesses. She dominated Jessica Andrade playing Andrade’s game. So with that loss, where does Jessica Andrade go from here?

Well, there are a couple of options. Andrade could always return to strawweight if she ever wants to. She’s 1-1 with the new UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (10-4). Andrade knocked Namajunas out in the first fight and lost a close split decision in the second fight.

It would be relatively easy for the promotion to sell the trilogy. However, the odds are that she will want to stay at 125 pounds. Assuming that’s the case, I think the UFC should look at booking her against Cynthia Calvillo (9-2-1).

Calvillo is another strawweight turned flyweight. Currently, she’s ranked fifth in the UFC and she’s also coming off of a loss. I think it would be an excellent matchup that would keep both ladies relevant at 125 pounds.

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.

Valentina Shevchenko destroys Jessica Andrade at UFC 261

The first of three title fights at UFC 261 featured the women’s flyweight title. The undisputed champion Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) was taking on the former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-8). This title fight was flying under the radar but was massively anticipated on my end.

Jessica Andrade is finally competing in her natural weight class. When she broke into the UFC, she fought at 135 pounds because that was the only option. She was massively undersized and when the strawweight division opened, she dropped 20 pounds.

Andrade rose to the top and became the UFC‘s strawweight champion. However, the weight cut was always extremely difficult and after back-to-back losses at 115 pounds, Andrade decided to move up. In her first fight at flyweight, she stopped the number one contender in the first round.

While defeating the top contender is impressive, the UFC‘s flyweight champion is a different animal. The only person who has gotten the better of Shevchenko since she joined the UFC was Amanda Nunes. Nunes did it twice although, I thought Valentina won the second time.

Both of those fights were at 135 pounds. When the UFC opened the flyweight division, it was immediately known that it was going to be her weight class. Shevchenko was looking for her fifth successful title defense tonight at UFC 261.

UFC 261 Recap

Round 1

The UFC flyweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Andrade looked to open the striking with low kicks, but was out of range. Shevchenko opens her striking with some strong kicks. The UFC champion lands a clean counter as Andrade looks to press forward.

A hard 1-2 lands for Shevchenko. Body kick lands for Jessica Andrade. Shevchenko gets a body lock off an Andrade kick and takes Andrade down immediately. Andrade pops back up to her feet, but the flyweight champion drags her right back down. Again, Andrade gets back up.

Shevchenko lets her go and throws a headkick on the break. A vicious combination lands for Valentina Shevchenko and the two go to a clinch. Andrade presses Shevchenko against the fence and starts working body shots. However, Shevchenko just uses her strength to throw Andrade down to the ground.

The UFC champion tries to lock in a rear-naked choke, but Andrade defends well. Dominance thus far for Valentina Shevchenko. Andrade uses the fence to work her way back up. Shevchenko is heavy on the clinch pressure and takes Andrade down before the round ends. Dominant round one for the UFC champion.

Round 2

The second round opens with some pressure from Andrade, but she’s popped with a couple of big shots from Shevchenko. The two clinch and the UFC champion slams Andrade to the ground. There is a massive strength difference between these two ladies and it’s very evident here in the first.

Shevchenko starts working her ground and pound on Andrade. Andrade tries to explode up and she works her way back to her feet. She pushes Shevchenko to the fence and tries to pick her up. However, the UFC champion wasn’t going anywhere.

Shevchenko gets Andrade back to the ground and ends up in the crucifix position. Massive elbows rain down from Valentina Shevchenko and Andrade is bloodied. The referee steps in and this one is over. Total domination from the champion.

Valentina Shevchenko def. Jessica Andrade by TKO – Round 2

UFC 261 Preview: Valentina Shevchenko – Jessica Andrade

The first of three title fights tomorrow night at UFC 261 will see the women’s flyweight title up for grabs. Former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-8) is getting her shot at the UFC‘s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko (20-3).

After years of competing in the UFC, Jessica Andrade is finally in her proper weight class. When Andrade first joined the promotion, she was forced to fight at 135 pounds. Obviously, Andrade was drastically too small for that division.

When the UFC opened up the strawweight division, Andrade dropped 20 pounds to fight at 115 pounds. Andrade reached the top of the mountain when she knocked out Rose Namajunas to become the strawweight champion. However, her reign was short-lived after she was knocked out by Zhang Weili.

After losing a rematch to Rose Namajunas, Andrade decided to move up. In her first flyweight fight, she fought the number one contender, Katelyn Chookagian. Andrade stopped Chookagian in the first round which immediately made her the next in line to challenge for the UFC flyweight title.

Standing the way of Andrade winning her second UFC title is the flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko. You could make the argument that pound-for-pound and skill-for-skill that Shevchenko is the best in the world. Of course, Amanda Nunes is atop all P4P rankings, but she has an interesting history with the UFC flyweight champion.

Nunes has fought and defeated Shevchenko twice. However, I still believe that Valentina won the last fight between the two for the UFC bantamweight title. After the decision didn’t go her way, Shevchenko moved to her natural weight class at 125 pounds. Since then, she hasn’t been challenged and she’s looking to continue her dominance tomorrow night.

UFC 261 Prediction

Heading into this title fight at UFC 261, the narrative is all surrounding the power of Jessica Andrade. The pundits are saying that due to Andrade’s power and strength, she’s going to pose problems for Valentina Shevchenko.

Personally, I really don’t see the champion having issues tomorrow night. On the feet, Shevchenko is going to have the massive advantage. If this fight stays at striking range, the UFC flyweight champion can just pick apart Andrade from the outside. Her kicks are going to be huge tomorrow night.

Andrade needs to try and get this fight to the ground. Nunes was able to do that and we even saw Jennifer Maia have some success in one round against Valentina. However, I don’t think Andrade has it in her to control the UFC champion for at least three rounds tomorrow night.

Ultimately, I’m expecting another great performance for Shevchenko. I wouldn’t even be shocked to see her get a finish in the middle rounds. However, I’ll settle for picking her on points tomorrow night.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by Unanimous Decision