Valentina Shevchenko can no longer be considered just a stand-up fighter.
At UFC Denver, the Kyrgyzstani-Russian defeated Julianna Pena via armbar in the middle of the second round. While many had fancied Pena to get the best of the grappling exchanges, it was actually Shevchenko who got the majority of the takedowns, and got the win via submission.
Before the event, many had considered the main event to be an unofficial title eliminator. After the fight, UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes seemed to confirm its status, entering the Octagon and formally challenging Shevchenko.
“We are going to do it again, and I’m going to finish you this time,” Nunes said. “I’m the champion because I say I’m the champion. I’m going to beat you because I know how to beat you.”
“Be careful with your words,” Shevchenko shot back. “Because they might come back to you.”
— #UFC208 (@ufc) January 29, 2017
The two have fought before, back at UFC 196, with Nunes gaining the slim victory via judges decision on that occasion — but that was a three round fight, and Shevchenko was gaining momentum in the final third.
Perhaps a five round title fight could prove the difference maker.