UFC Mixed Martial Arts

Only two women have managed to take down current women’s flyweight champion Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko inside the octagon. One is Amanda Nunes, who defeated the Muay Thai specialist twice via decision at bantamweight. The other is Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche, Shevchenko’s opponent at UFC Fight Night 156 Saturday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Carmouche and Shevchenko last fought in 2010 at C3 Fights Red River Rivalry, where the 35-year-old striker ended Shevchenko with a knockout punch in the second round. Since their first meeting, Carmouche has accumulated an 8-6 record, with losses to Marloes Coenen, Sarah Kaufman, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Alexis Davis (twice).

In the same amount of time, Shevchenko has defeated every fighter who stood in her way, aside from Nunes, whom she faced at UFC 196 and UFC 215. Due to her streak of dominance in the UFC, Shevchenko is a heavy -1250 favorite (-950 with BetAmerica’s Super Odds price) in her rematch with Carmouche (+700) on Saturday. The 31-year-old measures up pretty evenly with her opponent, as she stands just an inch shorter than Carmouche at 5-foot-5 and has just a half an inch longer reach at 66.5 inches.

Carmouche’s fighting style relies mostly on wrestling and her physical prowess. Shevchenko is a bit more conservative but typically able to dictate the fight with her own wrestling abilities and clinch work. She is also an excellent kickboxer, as Jessica Eye learned in June at UFC 238, where Shevchenko delivered a head-kick knockout in the second round.

While Shevchenko is seemingly the clear-cut choice to defend her 125-pound title Saturday, both women are in excellent shape, mentally sharp and bring in a dangerous skill set to make this fight a close one. Shevchenko may play it safe but should ultimately come out with a decision win if she can’t land the knockout blow.

Before their bout, Vicente Luque (-220) and Mike Perry (+180) provide another intense matchup at welterweight in the co-main event. At featherweight, Luiz Eduardo Garagorri takes on Humberto Bandenay, and Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi square off at light heavyweight. You can witness all the excitement of UFC Fight Night on ESPN+, with the main card set to air at 8 p.m. ET.


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