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Shevchenko vs Carmouche 2

Cover photo courtesy of Valentina Shevchenko

This is a rematch that is probably 7-8 years overdue. The first fight between these two ended via doctor stoppage due to a cut over Valentina’s eye, an injury that appeared to have Valentina not necessarily “hurt” but bad enough to make the doctor pull the plug. Being it’s the only time Valentina has been finished in any combat sport, it’s guaranteed this fight is a serious grudge match for her and not just a standard defense of the belt. For Carmouche, who’s now 35 years old, this could be her last chance to capture UFC gold.

A post shared by Liz Carmouche (@iamgirlrilla) on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:42am PDT

In an interview after Carmouche’s recent victory over Pudilova, she said the fight vs Valentina should go even more in her favor this time. Her reasoning is that when she fought Valentina in 2010 she was new to MMA while Valentina started in 2003. Now having over a decade of experience, Carmouche feels this is beneficial for her. While it’s hard to ignore that logic, it’s very possible Carmouche is overestimating Valentina’s experience in MMA before 2010 and perhaps underestimating her growth over the last decade. Though Valentina did have her first pro MMA fight in 2003, she also stopped doing MMA fights and concentrated on Muay Thai & Kickboxing for most of her young career because she didn’t see much money to be made in MMA. When that changed, she’s been all in on MMA and hasn’t looked back. Other than Carmouche, the only person Valentina has lost to is Amanda Nunes. We all know what Amanda has done to everybody she’s fought recently, except Valentina. I’m always a fan of fighters finding ways to be confident, as long as they aren’t being delusional. If I’m Liz Carmouche I’d figure it’s probably better to forget about the fight years ago and prepare for the woman who nearly kicked the head off her last opponent.

A post shared by Valentina Shevchenko (@bulletvalentina) on Jul 28, 2019 at 6:44am PDT

My favorite thing about both women is their militant mind sets. Carmouche was an aviation electrician in the Marine Corps for approximately 5 years with three tours of duty in the Middle East. While Valentina may not have something of that nature on her resume, her constant online videos of her on shooting ranges show how well trained she is in more than MMA. Both women are the epitome of truly tough, disciplined women. Carmouche has only been finished twice, once very early in her career vs Marloes Coenen and the other by Ronda Rousey. Even in both those losses, there were positives. Carmouche was dominating most of the fight vs Coenen before she got caught in a triangle and against Ronda she nearly finished the fight with a nasty neck crank/RNC attempt. The confidence and lack of fear in both women is admirable and it doesn’t seem like either are remotely nervous before they fight.

A post shared by Liz Carmouche (@iamgirlrilla) on Jan 15, 2019 at 6:23pm PST

My favorite fun fact about Valentina is how she got her nickname. At age 12 she competed in a kickboxing match against a 22 year old and knocked her out. Because of the speed she showed at such a young age, her coaches gave her the moniker “Bullet”. Valentina is one of the best competitors in I.F.M.A history, winning 8 gold medals & 1 silver between 2003-2014. Her Muay Thai record (according to Wikipedia) is 57-2, a record impossible not to respect. She is a Master of Sports in Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Boxing and Kickboxing. The biggest mistake many opponents make regarding Valentina is underestimating her grappling skills. She is also a black belt and Master of Sports in Judo, a skill that showcased well in her fight against Julianna Pena. When speaking of Valentina Shevchenko, you’re speaking of a woman who dedicated her entire life to the martial arts. Add her older sister to the equation (who she trains & travels the world with) and it’s evidently no mistake why she is the current women’s flyweight champion. Now that she’s able to fight at her perfect weight class she has a chance to become one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. Most MMA fans do not currently see anybody at 125 who appears to be a huge threat to the massively skilled Shevchenko.

A post shared by Valentina Shevchenko (@bulletvalentina) on Jul 6, 2019 at 10:13pm PDT

If there is anybody who can spoil the party for Valentina’s plan to rule 125 for a while, it’s Liz Carmouche. She’s extremely tough, very durable and has a way of turning fights into dogfights that women often struggle with. I believe Liz’s best asset is her mental strength and work ethic. She may not have the martial arts resume Valentina has, but the way she fights makes it evident she trains very hard. The only times I’ve seen Liz struggle is when she has a specialty opponent that has so much experience in one department that it’s difficult for her to make up ground when stuck in certain positions. A perfect example was the Rousey fight and who can blame anybody for being caught in a Rousey armbar when she was in the middle of her insane winning streak. Despite the loss, Liz gave Ronda one of the tougher fights she had in Ronda’s 12 fight win streak that included 12 finishes (11 first round). Liz put Ronda in more trouble than anybody else during that win streak.

A post shared by Liz Carmouche (@iamgirlrilla) on Dec 2, 2018 at 4:10pm PST

I’m very much looking forward to this main event. After Valentina’s last win, it’s hard not to imagine people wanting to tune in to see if she pulls off another nasty finish. Because Carmouche has fought once a year for nearly 5 years, I’m not sure how many eyes she’ll draw from average fight fans. I want to watch because I’m wondering if Liz might be to Valentina as Porier is to Holloway. It’s tough to tell when somebody has another person’s number, but sometimes that appears to be the case. Maybe it’s the stylistic match up, perhaps it’s a mental thing or possibly just luck of the draw on the day the fight happened. At least for me, the bottom line is there is no way I’m missing this fight. I’m way too curious how it will go to miss it.■

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