UFC 266 takes place this weekend and will feature two title fights at the top of a stacked card at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event is a UFC Featherweight Championship clash between Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega. But before that 145-pound fight begins, Valentina Shevchenko will defend the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship against Lauren Murphy in the co-main event.
Bookmakers have Shevchenko as the clear betting favorite before UFC 266 but what do UFC fighters think of the upcoming title fight? James Lynch asked fighters for their Shevchenko vs. Murphy predictions before UFC 266 this Saturday night.
How to watch UFC 266
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy is this Saturday’s co-main event at UFC 266. The only way to watch the live PPV event in the United States is by ordering on ESPN+ here.
The UFC 266 &
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy predictions
“I’m so happy I’m not working that event because when I worked the Katlyn Chookagian fight when she got her title shot and you just feel like you’re shitting all over them — and that’s not the case. I love watching Lauren Murphy fight, she has a really cool style, she comes forward, she’s mean, I love watching a lot of the female fighters, they’re just really nasty and way meaner than the men are. I like watching her fight but then you match her with Valentina Shevchenko and it’s like, you immediately have nothing good to say. I have nothing good to say. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know where you take advantage of Valentina. On paper, she’s perfect. I don’t know where you find a flaw. The only time you can find any kind of deficiencies is when she’s standing across from Amanda Nunes and even she wasn’t able to find too many. It’s just one of those things — those poor girls are just living in an era right now where the Muhammad Ali of their generation is in their weight class.”
“I got my girl Lauren Murphy for sure. She’s killing it, you know, I didn’t know she was this good back then. She’s just evolved so much. She’s got such a strong mindset, she’s a mom, too, so of course, I’m pulling for a mom champ. And yeah, like you said she’s hard to finish, she’s got so much heart, she’s got fight of the night, she’s got like a long time coming, working hard for this. I’m pulling for her and I think she’s going to get an upset in this fight, for sure. Valentina has been in there at the top, she’s been working hard but when you’re winning all the time it’s hard to find places to get better. But I know Lauren, every time she accepts fights last-minute with people you have no idea — and they’re the hardest ones to fight… Lauren’s up for anything and I think she’s going to do good this fight and I think she’ll win.”
“I don’t feel like it’s going to be this easy pushover fight for Valentina, you know. She doesn’t get finished, she’s a game who constantly keeps going and keeps fighting no matter what position she’s in and she’s fought a long time to get where she’s at. But at the same time, the level that Valentina is at is way up here compared to everyone else but I’m really excited for Lauren to go in there — I always like putting money on an underdog so let’s see how it goes.”
“Lauren Murphy has done awesome and she’s a really tough girl. She’s done really well to get herself in this spot and fight Valentina, but Valentina is always levels above everybody — striking, grappling, everything and she always looks stronger than anyone else and when she’s in the clinch she wins the battles there. I’m going Shevchenko by TKO victory.”
“How can you go against Valentina at this point? The only person she needs to fight and the only person she needs to fight and the only person Nunes needs to fight is each other. They need to fight each other again.”
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.