Shevchenko earned a split decision victory over Santos in the UFC 275 co-main event. According to the judges’ scorecards, the bout was the toughest test of her dominant title reign.
Shevchenko set the record for most successful UFC title defenses by a female fighter, but Tate believes her performance showed that she’s more vulnerable than most realized.
“The worst part is I already knew this,” Tate said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Now, the rest of the world knows it. I already believe this. I didn’t want Valentina to look any less indestructible. I wanted her to stay where everybody thought she was so unbeatable, because I already knew I could do that.”
Many fans and pundits felt that Santos did enough to earn the win over Shevchenko before the judges’ scorecards went the other way. Tate went on to reveal how she scored the UFC 275 co-headliner.
“I honestly, in my first impression, thought that Taila won the first three rounds,” Tate said. “Going back and watching it, I could see an argument where Valentina, depending on what you favor, could have won the fight. But in my mind, I still feel like Taila Santos won it, especially because I think that the visual of the eye, which I believe primarily came from the headbutt, was calculated in the judges’ minds, however, it really shouldn’t have been, because it was a foul, essentially.”
As Tate prepares for her move to 125lbs, she feels more confident than ever that she can be the one to take Shevchenko’s throne.
“So for me, it’s kind of like, ah, it’s been shown,” Tate said. “Now, people are going to believe in me more to be able to do it. I didn’t want that.
“I wanted to be the massive underdog. I wanted everybody to count me out. I wanted nobody to think Miesha Tate, five years retired, two kids, coming back 2-1 in the UFC, would be able to take out Valentina Shevchenko. But now, I think people can see a little bit of what I’ve been saying holds some water. I don’t know if that benefits me, but either way, the game plan hasn’t changed.”
Tate will make her flyweight debut against former title challenger Lauren Murphy at UFC 276. She made the move to the flyweight division following a loss to Ketlen Vieira after a win in her post-retirement return over Marion Reneau.
Before her close win over Santos, Shevchenko had cleaned out the division of most of its contenders. She’s on a run that has included finishes over the likes of former strawweight champion Jéssica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian.
If Tate can earn an impressive win over Murphy, she could potentially be Shevchenko’s next challenge with a shot at becoming a two-weight world champion on the line.
What are your thoughts on Miesha Tate’s review of Valentina Shevchenko’s recent performance?