Undefeated UFC fighter Tatiana Suarez doesn’t believe that there’s anyone in the flyweight division who is capable of dethroning dominant champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Shevchenko has ruled over the 125-pound weight class since a 2018 victory over former strawweight queen Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Since then, the Kyrgyzstani has defended the gold six times, including against Jessica Eye, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, and Jéssica Andrade.
Having established herself as perhaps the most dominant titleholder in the UFC and risen to #1 on the women’s pound-for-pound list, Shevchenko is looking to tighten her stranglehold on the flyweight division even further at UFC 275 this weekend, where she’ll face #4-ranked contender Taila Santos.
As expected, Shevchenko will enter her seventh championship defense in Singapore as a significant favorite. But nonetheless, her Brazilian challenger is expecting to shock the world on June 11.
But for one fellow member of the UFC’s female roster, that is unlikely.
During a recent appearance on The Schmozone podcast, Tatiana Suarez who has been out of action herself since 2019, gave her thoughts on Saturday’s co-main event. As well as not giving Santos a chance at having her hand raised, the 31-year-old suggested that there’s no 125lber capable of unseating the flyweight queen.
“I think that Valentina will beat her (Santos). I don’t know if it’s just that she’s (Shevchenko) very skilled, obviously, in the striking department, but then she’s very strong, so she gets the body lock and she does that very well,” said Suarez. “She does position-grappling very well. She stays really heavy on top and she’s very patient. I just don’t think that anybody in the flyweight division has the jiu-jitsu, grappling, or anything like that to beat her.
“If you look at the division, I don’t know any — It’s kinda similar to when Ronda (Rousey) was champion. There was nobody who could beat her in the grappling department,” added Suarez. “It’s going to take somebody who’s a little bit better on the ground or wrestling, and know how to strike enough to survive there, too.”
Suarez might be hoping that the woman to end the rule of Shevchenko will be herself. At 8-0 in the Octagon, the TUF 23 winner established herself as a legitimate threat at strawweight before injuries stalled her progress, leaving her on the sidelines for three years.
Now nearing the end of what’s been a long road to recovery, Suarez is looking to re-book her flyweight debut for later this year. Should she feel strong at the weight, perhaps a title charge at 125 pounds rather than a return to 115 isn’t out of the question.
Do you agree with Tatiana Suarez? Is there anyone in the flyweight division capable of beating Valentina Shevchenko?