In the main event of UFC on ESPN 14 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Valentina Shevchenko took on Liz Carmouche in a defense of her UFC flyweight crown. The fight was a rematch of a contest that happened way back in both women’s careers; a fight which Carmouche won (via doctor’s stoppage).
But on this night in South America, it was Shevchenko who walked away victorious. In doing so she surprised very few people and succeeded in padding her resume as one of the best female fighters ever.
Carmouche bounced out to meet the champion Shevchenko in the opening seconds of their title fight. Shevchenko maintained her usual cool exterior, though, as she appeared to carefully analyze her opponent for an opening. Shevchenko did this for a couple of minutes — in complete silence, thanks to the crowd — before throwing her first combos of the fight. They didn’t find a home, but did succeed in forcing Carmouche back to the fence.
In the open cage, Shevchenko continued to stalk down Carmouche, but didn’t throw much in the way of offense. Carmouche threw even less, looking content to wait for an opportunity to counter the celebrated striker. As both Shevchenko and Carmouche patiently measured each other up, the silence was broken, by the persistent whistles and boos that the Uruguayan fans had been furnishing the arena with throughout the night of fights.
The second round started like the first, with Carmouche prioritizing evasiveness and offering very little offense and Shevchenko being patient in waiting for an opening. The crowd hated it. Carmouche did switch things up with a takedown attempt, but got nowhere close to completing it. With a minute left in the round, Shevchenko opened up a little bit, landing some clean leg kicks and a spinning back-fist that forced Carmouche to cover-up momentarily.
In the third Shevchenko seemed to put more effort into closing the distance between her and the dancing Carmouche. She did this by hopping into range to deliver hard leg kicks. Then, she was able to catch Carmouche in punching range with a lightning fast jab that dropped her opponent.
Carmouche laid back and waited for Shevchenko to join her, but ‘Bullet’ refused and saw the challenger stood back up. After that they clinched in the middle of the cage, which resulted in a body-lock takedown for Shevchenko, who landed in Carmouche’s guard.
In the fourth Shevchenko built on her success from the third, flurrying forwards and catching Carmouche with head shots and low kicks. Carmouche reacted with going for a takedown, but Shevchenko was able to stuff it and again land in top position.
On the ground Carmouche utilized the 10th Planet ‘mission control’ guard, while Shevchenko squeezed for openings to drop ground and pound. Neither did enough to stop the referee from standing the action back up, though.
On the feet Carmouche stormed into Shevchenko’s range again, but this time the champion clubbed her with a strike that helped her onto the canvas. On the ground, Shevchenko took Carmouche’s back and then transitioned to side control. Carmouche managed to secure half-guard as time expired in the round.
With one round left, Carmouche knew she had to finish Shevchenko to be crowned a UFC champion. She decided her best shot at doing this was with a takedown two minutes in. Shevchenko stuffed it, again, and landed in top position, again. In Carmouche’s full-guard, Shevchenko failed to land anything damaging, while Carmouche squirmed around but did little to endanger the champion.
When the final bell rang, it was obvious what the decision would be: every judge gave every round to the champion, Shevchenko.