Valentina Shevchenko is one of the most fearsome fighters in any division in mixed martial arts. There is nothing she doesn’t do well and, at the moment, there are no women in the flyweight division who look like much of a challenge to her.
She disposed of No. 1 contender Katlyn Chookagian on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 247 at the Toyota Center, stopping her at 1:03 of the third round with ground-and-pound. Shevchenko took Chookagian down, got into the crucifix position and the fight ended quickly.
Shevchenko did a little bit of everything in the fight. She cut Chookagian with a vicious elbow. She cracked her with a spinning back fist and then later with a wheel kick to the jaw. She tore up Chookagian’s lead leg with powerful kicks. And she took her down almost at will.
She’s establishing herself as one of the UFC’s most dominant champions, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone on the horizon who would have much of a chance with her.
Shevchenko was quicker than Chookagian, clearly was stronger, was a more accurate puncher and had more weapons in the toolbox.
“If you train hard, it’s easier in the fight,” Shevchenko said.
Shevchenko, though, is incredibly physically gifted as well as fundamentally sound. She has an answer for every move an opponent tries, and rarely puts herself in danger.
She’s 8-2 in the UFC, but 5-0 at flyweight. Her only losses were at bantamweight, when she lost two narrow decisions to Amanda Nunes, who holds the bantamweight and featherweight titles and is widely regarded as the greatest women’s fighter of all-time.
Shevchenko isn’t far off of that pace, though, and Nunes seems to be the only woman in the UFC who can push her. When Shevchenko was at bantamweight, she decisioned Sarah Kaufman and Holly Holm and submitted Julianna Peña.
Since going to flyweight after her second loss to Nunes, a gut-wrenching affair at UFC 215 in 2017, Shevchenko has lapped the field. She overwhelmed Priscilla Cachoeira in her flyweight debut, and has since topped Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche and Chookagian.
None ever really threatened her and Shevchenko just doled out punishment repeatedly.
Not many are going to be eager to challenge her and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
This could be the start of a record-setting reign. Shevchenko is now halfway to Ronda Rousey’s women’s UFC championship record of six title defenses. She is poised to not only match that record, but to blow past it.
The only thing that could stop her, other than injury, is boredom. She’s that good.
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