Valentina Shevchenko faced several critics following her latest win and now, Michael Bisping is here to debunk those theories.
The UFC women’s flyweight champion outclassed Liz Carmouche over the course of five rounds in the main event of last weekend’s UFC Uruguay. Although it was a wholly dominant performance, many were quick to call the win uninspiring. For her part, “Bullet” tossed those critics aside. However, former UFC middleweight champion Bisping took the defense of Shevchenko to a new level.
‘The Count’ was in Uruguay calling the action that evening. He’s since heard the criticisms of Shevchenko and he doesn’t agree whatsoever. Bisping effused his support for the dominant women’s champion on his Believe You Me Podcast (via MMA Fighting). In doing so, he noted Shevchenko has simply set quite the lofty bar for herself. As a counter striker, she expected Carmouche to pressure her, and that just didn’t happen:
“I think the problem for Shevchenko is that she was so amazing in her last fight. People were kind of expecting another stunning knockout, especially when you combine it with the fact that – and no disrespect to Liz Carmouche, very, very tough fighter, been around for a long period, she deserves respect – on paper, when you break it down, Shevchenko’s supposed to smoke her all day long. That’s what everybody was expecting.
“So number one, everybody was expecting it. Secondly, Carmouche staying so far on the outside . . . she was a little hesitant to get inside the pocket so she wasn’t landing much and Shevchenko’s game plan was to let Carmouche come to her and then counter. And Carmouche wasn’t doing that.”
The Pressures Of Being Champion
Bisping stopped short of calling it an all-world performance, however. He admitted ‘Bullet’ could have done more, but also fixated on the fact that UFC champions have so much more to lose. He compared Shevchenko’s situation to that of his own when he upset Luke Rockhold:
“Could she have done more?. Yeah, she could’ve done more, but you’ve got to remember, she’s defending the UFC world title. There’s a lot of pressure there. Great things happen to you when you’re UFC champion of the world and you don’t want to lose that. Number one you’ve got the money, you’ve got the fame, you’ve got the adoration, all that. And then you’ve got external opportunities.
“You get more sponsors, you get more recognition. For instance, when I won the belt against Luke Rockhold, that was on a Saturday. Monday morning I had two emails about potential movie offers. People want to do business with world champions. Sponsors want to do it. Movies want to do it. You’re on top of the world.”
A Reign Similar To Silva?
Finally, Bisping pulled it all together by noting that even the most exciting champions are prone to having lackluster performances once in a while. He pointed to the career of all-time great former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, a fighter Shevchenko has been compared to recently:
“So when you put all that together, yes could she have done more? 100 percent. Was it a classic performance? No. Was it a performance she wasn’t overly proud of? Perhaps. But was it truly dominant? Was it utterly one-sided? Yes, it was. And what you’ve got to remember is that as a champion, sometimes that’s going to happen. Look back at Anderson Silva. Look at his title reign. Not every fight he was in was the most sensational fight.
“Yes, he provided many, many beautiful, extreme, creative knockouts that captured everybody’s imagination but some of them…The first one that springs to mind is Demian Maia. That fight was just goddamn awful. But it didn’t affect his legacy. So Shevchenko, well done. A very, very successful title defense. Not the most stunning but as we just said, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Which side are you on regarding Valentina Shevchenko’s dominant (yet uninspiring) UFC Uruguay title defense?