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‘I know that my jiu-jitsu is better’ — Erin Blanchfield says Valentina Shevchenko’s grappling is ‘basic’

The potential title challenger likes her chances against the champion, especially if the fight hits the ground. 

Erin Blanchfield after UFC Vegas 69.
Erin Blanchfield after UFC Vegas 69.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Erin Blanchfield clearly feels she’s in a prime position to challenge for the UFC flyweight championship.

This past Saturday, Blanchfield submitted Jéssica Andrade via second-round rear-naked choke at UFC Vegas 69 in one of the best performances of her career so far. After the win, ‘Cold Blooded’ said she wanted the winner of Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso next.

“I think this fight puts me right in line for the next title shot,” said Blanchfield on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “Taila [Santos] was supposed to fight me and she pulled out at the last minute and then Manon [Fiorot] is hurt for a while. Valentina and Grasso are fighting [at UFC 285] literally in like a week and a half or so. I think having me fight for the title next just makes sense.”

Since her arrival in the UFC, Blanchfield set her sights on being the one to dethrone Shevchenko. Throughout her reign, only one fighter has come close to doing that: Taila Santos.

In their fight at UFC 275 this past June, the Brazilian found success on the ground. She had Shevchenko in several compromising positions and fending off submission attempts over the course of five rounds. Though she dealt with the adversity and eked out a split decision, the ‘Bullet’ had her grappling called into question.

Seeing Santos’ success against Shevchenko seems to have confirmed what Blanchfield feels she already knew about the champion.

“Valentina, I don’t think it’s any secret her striking is very good,” said Blanchfield. “Her Muay Thai is very crisp. She even has some decent body lock takedowns. But I think on the actual floor, her jiu-jitsu, it’s not bad. It’s just very, very basic. I don’t think she has many submissions. I don’t think she can get out from certain positions very well, like what we saw against Taila. I kind of think that’s where her game is probably the most basic and probably could use some improvement.

“I know I could fight with Valentina anywhere, but against anybody in the flyweight division, I know that my jiu-jitsu is better,” continued Blanchfield. “I can finish anybody.”

With her recent win, Blanchfield improved to 5-0 in the UFC.

About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)

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