Valentina Shevchenko makes the third defence of her UFC women’s flyweight title when she meets Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247, but will it be another successful outing for the champion that sets up a trilogy fight with Amanda Nunes?
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Road To Valentina Shevchenko v Katlyn Chookagian
Valentina Shevchenko has proven herself to be the cream of the crop in the flyweight division since returning to this weight class just under two years ago. The 31-year-old Russian’s quest to become bantamweight champion ended in failure as she dropped a split decision to Amanda Nunes, losing to the Brazilian for a second time, but she immediately bounced back upon her return to flyweight and has not looked back. A submission win over Priscila Cachoeira landed her a shot at the vacant flyweight belt and she took full advantage of her opportunity, becoming only the second woman to get the better of former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk inside the Octagon. Shevchenko produced a perfect performance to outclass Jedrzejczyk for a unanimous decision win, and she was equally impressive in her first defence of the belt as she stopped Jessica Eye with a head kick for her first TKO victory via strikes since December 2013. A decision win over Liz Carmouche followed last August and despite ongoing chatter about a potential trilogy fight with Nunes, Shevchenko will make at least one more defence of the flyweight title before that can potentially happen.
Providing the opposition in the co-main event for UFC 247 will be Katlyn Chookagian. The 31-year-old American has gone 6-2 inside the Octagon and earned this shot at the title with a couple of big wins in 2019. Chookagian bounced back from the split decision defeat to Jessica Eye by besting Joanne Calderwood over three rounds last June, and five months later she made it back-to-back wins with a unanimous decision victory over Jennifer Maia, who had failed to make weight for the fight. Immediately following that fight Chookagian called for a shot at flyweight champion Shevchenko, and it did not take long for the UFC to announce that the two women would fight for the title in the second pay-per-view event of 2020. So can Chookagian become the woman that dethrones Shevchenko, or will the champions enjoy another successful defence and possibly set up another showdown with Nunes? Read on for our free Valentina Shevchenko v Katlyn Chookagian UFC 247 predictions & tips…
Valentina Shevchenko v Katlyn Chookagian Tips
I fully expect Shevchenko to get the win here – there is no area of the game where I believe Chookagian has an advantage. The question is how will she get the job done? Shevchenko is an outstanding kickboxer, but she is not a striker who likes to charge forward and pile pressure on her opponent. Instead she likes to fight on the counter-attack and pick apart her opponent, mixing up her attack with clinch work and takedowns. That is why there is a real shortage of KO/TKO wins on her record despite her striking skillset, and it is why I am backing her for a decision win here. She will fight a smart fight to get the nod from the judges and put herself in the frame for a trilogy fight with Nunes in 2020.
Shevchenko v Chookagian Tips: UFC 247 Fighter Predictions
Valentina Shevchenko: “No offense to Katlyn, but all my opponents were thinking before they faced me that I hadn’t faced anyone with their style. Katlyn is a well-rounded fighter, a good striker and she says she knows ground game. But, it’s fine. It’s OK. I hope that she will bring everything for her, because this is what I want from the fighter, this is what I want from the opponent. And what I’m going to do is dominate the fight the same way. I will prepare myself in the best shape and do the great job. This is my mindset – not to go into a fight just to have fun, only to win. Only the victory is what’s important for me.”
Katlyn Chookagian: “Valentina is the fight that I’ve been wanting since she got the title. I’m not just in the UFC to be another fighter. I want the title. I never look past the opponents I have, but she’s always someone I have in mind. I’ve been sparring lefties all camp and ever since I got into the UFC. I think my style matches up really well with her.”