Long-reigning women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko returns to the cage this weekend to defend her title against Taila Santos at UFC 275.
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Shevchenko is undefeated since 2017 and has won all of her last eight bouts in the UFC. After beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the vacant flyweight title in 2018, Shevchenko has defended the belt six times and four times via stoppage. She’s currently regarded as the top women’s pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion today.
Santos entered the UFC following a Dana White’s Contender Series victory in 2018 and has recently managed four consecutive wins to rise to #4 in the flyweight rankings and earn her title shot against Shevchenko. Santos’ most recent victories came against Joanne Wood, Roxanne Modafferi, and Gillian Robertson.
James Lynch recently asked other UFC fighters for their Shevchenko vs. Santos picks before the UFC 275. While many fighters and fans consider Shevchenko as basically ‘unbeatable,’ some feel that Santos represents a significant challenge for the champion and that she’s being overlooked before this title fight.
Watch Shevchenko vs. Santos
- Date: Saturday, June 11
- Time: PPV Main Card starts at 10 pm ET
ESPN+ PPV (order here)
Shevchenko vs. Santos will feature as the co-main event on the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 275 fight card. Fight fans can order the event on the ESPN+ website to watch Shevchenko vs. Santos live this Saturday night as well as Blachowicz vs. Teixeira, Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk, and more.
Shevchenko vs. Santos picks
All fighter quotes have been sourced from James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick series on YouTube. Watch the full video here.
“I think Taila will get it. I think Santos will get it. Valentina has been on a roll for so long, she’s just so… she’s obviously motivated because she’s been the champ for such a while but I think that these newer girls are so hungry and I think Santos is a really dangerous fighter. I think she’s #8 or something – she’s a little bit lower in the ranks – she’s not like top five, you know. I think she’s going to get the upset.”
“Shevchenko. It’s just like… I just feel like she was born 1,000 years ago and she’s been fighting for that long. She’s so ahead of curve. It’s wild. I just can’t imagine anyone ever really beating her. She’s just so on point. This is also an assessment and opinion from someone who trains with someone who has worked with her. She’s just on a different level, not only physically but mentally. Sometimes she has a smile on her face but most of the time it’s very much serious. I don’t see anyone tipping that scale for a while.”
“I’m going to go with Valentina in that one. Taila probably has a bit of a ground game that she can implement but I don’t know if her wrestling is good enough to get Valentina there. I think Valentina’s wrestling is a little underestimated. She knows how to use her hips and she has good hip throws. She’s not taken down that easily. I don’t know if Taila has the skill to do that so I’m definitely going to go with Valentina.”
“That fight is going to be super interesting. I believe that Shevchenko is going to take it but I feel like Santos will kind of humanize her a bit. I think that people are sleeping on this Santos girl a lot more. I think she kind of rose through the ranks quicker than the popularity has. I think that people are sleeping on her a little bit.”
“I just hope that it’s going to be a very exciting fight. I want to see a fight. I’d like to see someone test Valentina. I still think Valentina is going to win but I’d like to see, you know, a nice test for Valentina. I think that Santos is a very strong opponent and she mixes it up very well and I think she might be able to give Valentina a hard time.”
“I’m honestly surprised… I didn’t know that they gave her a title shot like that. Obviously, I’m going with Valentina, she’s a dominant champion. I don’t see Santos taking that from her.”
“Valentina. Santos is pretty durable but I’d say she [Shevchenko] wins by decision.”
“That’s no question, Shevchenko. I’m sorry, I just don’t see anybody [beating her].”
“It’s really hard to bet against Shevchenko. My money is on Shevchenko.”
“I’m going to go with Valentina. Anything can happen but I’m going to go with Valentina.”
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.