Valentina Shevchenko dominated Liz Carmouche at UFC on ESPN+ 14 on Saturday in Montevideo, Uruguay. The victory avenged a loss from several years prior.
Shevchenko and Carmouche first met before either of them found their way to the UFC. Carmouche won that first fight via a TKO because of a doctor’s stoppage in September of 2010. Carmouche landed an up-kick that opened a bad cut above Shevchenko’s eye. She still wears the scar today.
It goes without saying, both women are vastly improved versions of themselves in the nearly nine years since that first meeting, but it was Shevchenko that was continuously one step ahead the entire fight.
Carmouche quickly established a strategy of darting in and out and shifting stances, trying to remain out of Shevchenko’s striking range. That worked for the better part of the round. Shevchenko landed a few hard shots, while Carmouche landed a couple solid body kicks, but neither did much damage.
The action continued in a similar fashion in round two with Carmouche trying to remain elusive, which worked but also crippled much of her offensive capability. Shevchenko started to press forward a bit more in the second frame, getting her jab going and landing more punch combinations as the round wore on.
The fight really opened up in the third and fourth frames as Shevchenko’s striking was too much for Carmouche, who had little by way of an answer on the feet, outside of leg kicks.
Shevchenko dropped Carmouche in the third frame with a punch combination and again in the fourth round with a spinning backfist, though she wasn’t able to follow with much additional damage after Carmouche hit the floor.
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Shevchenko maintained her dominance on the feet in the opening minute of round five, but stuffed a Carmouche takedown early in the frame and forced the fight to the canvas for the final few minutes.
Carmouche landed a few heel kicks from bottom, while Shevchenko landed numerous shoulder punches and short left hands from inside half guard. Shevchenko never gave up control throughout the fight and maintained it until the final horn.
All three judges scored the bout 50-45 for Shevchenko, as she remained UFC flyweight champion with her second successful title defense in two months time.
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Shevchenko, her face beaming after the fight, appeared ready to fight anyone at any time after winning her eighteenth professional bout.
“I want everyone here inside the Octagon,” said Shevchenko, specifically mentioning current UFC dual-division champion Amanda Nunes, who holds two bantamweight division victories over Shevchenko.
It’s unclear if the UFC has much interest in Nunes facing Shevchenko for a third time, especially considering she holds and plans to defend titles in the 135 and 145-pound weight classes.