Thursday, June 30, 2022

Shevchenko Details Why Santos’ Power Hasn’t Translated To The Octagon

UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko believes that there’s a clear explanation for Taila Santos’ struggle to finish her UFC opponents with strikes.

This weekend at UFC 275, one of the promotion’s most dominant titleholders will look to extend her record-breaking reign even further. Since capturing the belt in 2018, Shevchenko has defended it six times, brushing past the threats posed by contenders like Jennifer Maia, Katlyn Chookagian, and Jéssica Andrade.

In her way of a seventh retention will be Santos. The Brazilian currently sits at #4 in the division and has earned a championship opportunity off the back of four straight wins inside the Octagon.

Aside from a split-decision loss to Maro Romero Borella on debut, Santos’ record is unblemished. As well as the impressive nature of any 19-1 slate, the manner of the 28-year-old’s victories prior to entering the UFC go some way to explaining her signing and fast rise.

Prior to joining the MMA leader, Santos boasted 15 professional wins, 10 of which came via knockouts. But since swapping the regional cages for the sport’s premier promotion, the Brazilian’s hands have appeared somewhat less lethal, with three of her four victories coming on the scorecards, the other via submission.

During UFC 275 media day on Wednesday, Shevchenko, who knows a thing or two about stopping her opponents on the feet in the UFC having done so four times in her last six appearances, explained why Santos’ power hasn’t translated over to the Octagon.

“Definitely it’s the level of competition, because we’re speaking of the best league in the world, of mixed martial arts,” said Shevchenko. “Here, you cannot find easy opponents, easy matchups, and there is no just weak fighters. They’re the best here, best of the best in the world.”

Ahead of UFC 275, Santos has suggested that her best hope of victory on Saturday will be by dragging “Bullet” to the ground. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that an upset victory will see Shevchenko stopped with strikes.

On the flip side, the Kyrgyzstani has the power and technique to finish anyone on the feet or on the canvas. Wherever the fight goes, Shevchenko is confident that she’ll add a seventh title defense to her résumé on June 11.

Why do YOU think Taila Santos hasn’t been able to knock anyone out in the UFC to date?

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