Monday, June 27, 2022

UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko expects 135-pound title fight this year

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Valentina Shevchenko has her sights set on becoming a two-division UFC champion by the end of 2022. Shevchenko, in the lead up to her UFC women’s flyweight title defense against Talia Santos at UFC 275, is keeping a close eye on Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes 2.

The promotion recently announced that Pena vs. Nunes 2 will headline UFC 277. Shevchenko informed UFC of her interest in fighting Nunes prior to Pena’s upset win over Nunes in December. Shevchenko expects to be on the shortlist of contenders at bantamweight.

“I think so,” Shevchenko said on The MMA Hour. “There is always the chance. Definitely the bigger fight, the better.”

Shevchenko fought Nunes twice, losing a three-round unanimous decision in March 2016 and a five-round split decision for the women’s bantamweight championship in September 2017, where many believed she deserved the judges’ decision. Shevchenko has also shared the Octagon with Pena when she scored a win via second-round submission in January 2017.

“I think it’s just on standby, before July,” Shevchenko said of a move back up to bantamweight. “This is where they booked the rematch. I think it’s inevitable. Or if [she loses] it will be Julianna Peña. We fought Julianna a few years ago, I submitted her with an armbar, and now people are definitely bringing up her name more frequently.”

Shevchenko expects to fight for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship by the end of the year, but she is also keeping an eye on former UFC champion Miesha Tate’s descent down to women’s flyweight.

“I think by the end of the year it’s going to be a good fight,” Shevchenko said. “But also we have to see — Miesha Tate is coming to 125 in July. So many things can happen, many things can change. So yeah, I think it’s possible. It’s very, very, very possible.”

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