UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko questioned the champion’s mettle ahead of their showdown at UFC 213.
After dispatching of Julianna Peña in January, Valentina Shevchenko earned her shot at UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. Promotion for that fight started immediately with Shevchenko and Nunes verbally sparred in the center of the Octagon. Months later, after their title fight became official, the two women clashed again; at the UFC’s summer kickoff press conference. There they needed to be separated after Nunes tapped her fist on Shevchenko’s chin.
“I think that her nerves are at the point of exploding,” said Shevchenko when thinking back to that moment; while speaking with Gino Alva of MMA.uno. “[Nunes] didn’t endure the pressure of the press conference. She acted like a crazy woman who can’t control her nerves.”
Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 is currently scheduled to headline UFC 213, which takes place on July 8th at the T-Mobile Arena outside of Las Vegas, NV. Despite questioning Nunes’ composure, Shechenko said it’s not her ‘style’ to talk about her opponents. “For me, the most important thing is to win my fights. I’m not a friend of my opponents, there’s always a rivalry there, but – for me – actions are more important than words.”
Shevchenko and Nunes first fought at UFC 196 in March, 2016. That night Nunes won out on the judge’s scorecards after a very close fight. The victory set the Brazilian up for a shot at then bantamweight champion Miesha Tate in the main event of UFC 200 last July. As an underdog, Nunes mauled Tate on route to a first round submission victory. After winning the belt Nunes was matched up against the returning Ronda Rousey – who had ruled the division for two years before being knocked out by Holly Holm.
Nunes was an underdog again when she faced Rousey. Despite the odds, the reigning champ demolished the former queen of 135lbs, winning via TKO in under a minute. Some were shocked at Nunes’ dominance over a fighter who was once touted as The World’s Most Dangerous Woman. Shevchenko wasn’t, though.
“That wasn’t a surprise for me,” revealed Shevchenko. “Ronda has good takedowns and submissions, but she needs to work on her distance [to throw punches]. Amanda saw that advantage and we saw the results.”
After analyzing Nunes’ win over Rousey, as well as their previous fight, Shevchenko is now determined to halt Nunes’ title reign at just a single successful defense. And she’s very confident in her abilities to do so. “For me, I can’t see any other outcomes than victory. That’s all. I’m training very hard and I’m 100% focused on taking the title.”
In just a month’s time – at a stacked UFC 213 – we’ll see if Shevchenko can make good on her prediction and become the next women’s bantamweight champion.