Valentina Shevchenko has steadily become a bigger favorite since her fight at UFC 266 against Lauren Murphy was first announced. Shevchenko, the defending UFC women’s flyweight champion, opened as a -720 favorite over Murphy, who is the No. 3 ranked fighter in the official UFC women’s 125-pound rankings. With fight-night quickly approaching, the champion, according to Best Fight Odds, is as high as a -2000 favorite over Murphy, who checks in as a +920 underdog.
Shevchenko has never been more than a -2000 favorite on fight night. She hit that mark at UFC 255 when she matched up against Jennifer Maia, who was ranked at No. 3 when that fight took place in November at UFC Apex. Shevchenko won that scrap via unanimous decision.
Shevchenko won the vacant flyweight title in 2018. She has defended the belt five times. Three of her defenses have come by wave of TKO and two via unanimous decision. Shevchenko has not lost since she dropped a split-decision to UFC women’s bantamweight champ, Amanda Nunes in 2017.
Murphy, who is a former Invicta FC champion, struggled when she joined the UFC. She opened her career with the organization on a 2-4 run. Murphy turned things around in August 2019. She is now on a five-fight winning streak and coming off a split-decision win over Joanne Calderwood in June.
The thing to watch in this matchup is the number of significant strikes Murphy lands against the number of strikes her opponent lands. Murphy lands at a decent clip of 3.95 significant strikes per minute, but she gets hit at a rate of 4.25 significant strikes per minute and that’s a concern considering no 125-pound woman in the UFC has knockouts that Shevchenko, who has three in that weight division and seven knockouts in her career.
Murphy has never been stopped in defeat. Of her four setbacks, all of which came under the UFC banner, have been via decision.
Below is a look at how Shevchenko and Murphy matchup in key stats ahead of UFC 266, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The flyweight title fight takes place on the ESPN+ streaming portion of the pay-per-view card.
UFC 266: Shevchenko vs. Murphy
|Sig. Strikes Landed Per Min.||3.02||3.95|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||1.99||4.25|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||2.64||1.16|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||0.4||0.1|