UFC Uruguay: Shevchenko vs. Carmouche Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Updated: Aug. 8, 2019 • 10:05 AM ET
Valentina Shevchenko is looking to retain her title this weekend.
Featuring a women’s flyweight title bout, the UFC will be in Uruguay for the first time in company history this Saturday when women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defends the title against veteran Liz Carmouche.
Shevchenko (17-3) will not only defend her title this weekend, she’ll also attempt to avenge the only stoppage loss of her career when the now No. 3 ranked Carmouche defeated her at regional promotion in 2010 by second-round TKO. The only other two losses in Shevchenko’s career have come at the hands of women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes, both by close decision.
Coming off a highlight reel head kick knockout victory over Jessica Eye at UFC 238 in June, Shevchenko has won three straight fights since her last loss to Nunes in 2017. She won the vacant flyweight title at UFC 231 last December with a win over former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and her move from bantamweight to flyweight has paid off as the 31-year-old has looked more dominant than ever.
The Russian fighter believes a third fight with Nunes will happen someday.
“But I think about our third fight,” Shevchenko recently told MMA Junkie. “It’s not what I want, not what she wants. It’s going to happen, anyway. I don’t know if it’s going to happen soon or later, when, I don’t know – but it’s going to happen, because it’s not under our control. It’s already always there.”
Shevchenko is ready to defend her title in a familiar place.
“I’m happy that it’s going to be in Uruguay because Latin America, it’s a huge part of my life,” Shevchenko said. “We lived there for eight years. The culture, the people, everything.
“While we were living in Peru in Latin America for eight years, there is one country we never visited – it’s Uruguay. It’s perfect timing. Everything’s good, and I know it’s going to be a good fight. Liz, she’s a strong fighter, MMA fighter, but I will do my best and more to keep my belt for a long, long time.”
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Including Eye and Jedrzejczyk, Shevchenko has key victories over Julianna Pena, Holly Holm and Sarah Kaufman.
Meanwhile, Carmouche will ride consecutive wins into Uruguay, her last coming by unanimous decision over Lucie Pudilova in February. The 35-year-old Carmouche has not finished a fight since 2013 when she TKO’d current strawweight champion Jessica Andrade. The bright side for Carmouche, who is a massive underdog this weekend, is that she hasn’t been finished in the Octagon since 2013 when she lost by first-round submission to Ronda Rousey.
Carmouche believes she knows how to beat the champion again.
“I have faced her, so there is something in the back of her head that she has to something to prove,” Carmouche recently told BJPenn.com. “Having a win over her will always be on her mind, so that is an advantage I have. Everyone goes in thinking you can play her tempo, but you have to go and be the one to push the pace against her.
“That is the only time people have had success against her. When she dictates how it goes, she dominates. I know what I need to do to have success in there.”
Carmouche continued, “The first time I faced her, I never did strength and conditioning. I never lifted weights in MMA career. The only thing I’d ever done is cardio. If you look at me then to now, I understand what it takes to care of my body. That is going to be a huge difference in this fight that contributes to my power. We also fought at bantamweight and I was the stronger one. Now, at flyweight, where I feel stronger and faster, my strength will be a factor in this fight.”
Carmouche is no stranger to title fights, as this will be her third attempt at winning a belt. She’s 0-2 thus far, losing to Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce bantamweight belt in 2011 and to Rousey at UFC 157 for the bantamweight belt.
Saturday’s co-main event will be a welterweight fight between No. 15 Vicente Luque and Mike Perry.
Luque has won five straight fights, most recently defeating Derrick Krantz by first-round TKO in May. He was originally scheduled to fight contender Neal Magny instead of Krantz, but Magny was removed from the fight due to a positive drug test. Perry now represents the marquee name that Luque needs to cement his position as a contender at welterweight and break into the top 10 of the rankings.
Luque (16-6-1, 9-2 in UFC) was a part of one of the best fights of 2019 when he defeated Bryan Barberena with just seconds remaining in the third round in February. He proved he could weather the storm in that tough battle with Barberena and at 27 years old, Luque could represent the future of the welterweight division. His last loss came in 2017 to top contender Leon Edwards, and the Brazilian fighter is excited to be fighting so close to home this weekend.
“In Uruguay, I expect to feel at home,” Luque recently told MMA Junkie. “It’s very close to Brazil, so there will be many Brazilians in attendance. Since I also speak Spanish, due to my Latin American roots, I feel that will also help. I think we will see fans from Chile too.
“I’ve fought at home before – in Brasilia, close to where I grew up, and in New York, close to where I was born. I’ve also fought in Santiago, Chile, where my father was born. It always generates a little extra incentive during training to have a great victory for the local fans.”
Perry is 2-3 in his last five fights, but most recently secured an impressive unanimous decision win over Alex Oliveira in April that won Fight of the Night honors. The win was a big rebound after losing by first-round submission to Donald Cerrone in November. Perry, however, also has high-profile victories over Jake Ellenberger and Paul Felder.
The 27-year-old Perry started strong in the UFC, going 4-1 with all four wins coming by knockout. His hard-hitting style and his brash personality have caught fans’ attention, but a win over a rising contender such as Luque would make the mark in the welterweight division he has tried to make since his debut in 2016.
The rest of the main card on ESPN+
Featherweight bout - Eduardo Garagorri vs. Humberto Bandenay
Light heavyweight bout - No. Volkan Oezdemir vs. No. 9 Ilir Latifi
Middleweight bout - Rodolfo Vieira vs. Oskar Piechota
Featherweight bout - Enrique Barzola vs. Bobby Moffett
Heavyweight bout - Ciryl Gane vs. Raphael Pessoa Nunes
Women's strawweight bout - No. 8 Tecia Torres vs. Marina Rodriguez
Flyweight bout - No. 8 Rogério Bontorin vs. No. 13 Raulian Paiva
Bantamweight bout - Geraldo de Freitas vs. Chris Gutierrez
Women's flyweight bout - Talia Santos vs. Ariane Carnelossi
Lightweight bout - Kazula Vargas vs. Alex da Silva
Women's flyweight bout - Talia Santos vs. Ariane Carnelossi
Welterweight bout - Gilbert Burns vs. Aleksei Kunchenko
Women's flyweight bout - Veronica Macedo vs. Polyana Viana