The co-main event for UFC 266 saw the sixth straight title defense for the promotion’s defending flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. Tonight she dominated the challenger Lauren Murphy, rocking her on the feet and then stopping her with strikes on the ground. Murphy just wasn’t pulling the trigger, and then paid for it when she actually did. Shevchenko is just that good. Is there anyone on the planet at 125-pounds that can offer up anything remotely competitive for Valentina? So far the answer has been hell no!
A little bit of feeling out took place at the start of this one. Murphy was showing plenty of respect to the champion, and seemed to be focused in on being defensively responsible. Shevchenko was throwing her punches and finishing the combo with a leg kick, and Murphy kind of just stood there and took it. With less than 30-seconds to go in the round, Shevchenko hit a clinch takedown to put an exclamation point on the round.
The fighters clinched up early in the seocnd round, and Murphy pressed the champ against the cage. Shevchenko freed herself and scored a couple of kicks to the body, before hitting another takedown, but with much more time to work. Valentina dropped some elbows and kept Murphy on her back for the rest of the round.
Murphy continued to be gun shy in the third frame. Whenever she did decide to come forward with strikes, she would get clobbered with a hard combo from Shevchenko. Murphy was getting tagged from all ranges, and didn’t seem to have anything to offer up. The fourth round was looking a lot like the third, but then the champ rocked Murphy with a hook, further hurt her with a head kick, and then took her down to the ground. She elbowed and punched away until the referee rescued the overwhelmed fighter.