Monday, October 25, 2021

Shevchenko’s UFC 266 Game Plan: Show Up, Break Murphy, And Leave

UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko has revealed her plan heading into her co-main event clash with Lauren Murphy at UFC 266 this weekend.

Shevchenko will be looking to make the sixth successful defense of her 125-pound gold. Since winning the vacant title with a victory over Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2018, “Bullet” has fought off the challenges of Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, and Jéssica Andrade.

The Kyrgyzstani’s motivation to remain at the flyweight mountaintop is clear every time she enters the Octagon, something she’ll hope to demonstrate again when she faces Murphy on September 25.

“Lucky” has built a five-fight win streak that includes victories over Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Calderwood. Despite Shevchenko’s dominance, and the doubts about her title credentials that the likes of Cynthia Calvillo hold, the 38-year-old believes she’s the toughest contender the champ will have faced.

Ahead of her upcoming fight, Shevchenko revealed her UFC 266 game plan to Sports Illustrated. While it may not be the sort of masterplan we’ll be seeing in the new James Bond film, it’s simple, effective, and is a pretty accurate description of her reign so far; enter, destroy, and leave.

“I will go there, break my opponent, take the belt, and go back home,” said Shevchenko. “That’s what I am preparing to do. That is what I will do.”

Shevchenko may acknowledge the toughness of her opponent, but she’s confident she’ll “destroy” yet another challenger come fight night.

“I know this level of competition is the top level. There are no easy or weak opponents, and everyone brings danger to the fights. I train to be capable to stop my opponent and do what I have to do to win the fight. I know my opponent will be strong, but I am going to destroy her.”

Shevchenko’s latest title defense joins a number of exciting matchups set for UFC 266. The pay-per-view, which will be held inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, will be headlined by a featherweight title clash between champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega. After the pair coached this year’s return of The Ultimate Fighter, the animosity between them is certainly higher than when they were originally set to collide at UFC 260.

The main card will also see the highly anticipated return of fan-favorite Nick Diaz. In a rematch 17 years in the making, the Stockton native will run it back with former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler in what will be the UFC’s second five-round non-title and non-main event bout.

Who do you think will have their hand raised on Saturday? Valentina Shevchenko or Lauren Murphy?

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