UFC 238: Shevchenko vs. Eye – Preview
UFC 238 is coming to Chicago stacked from top to bottom. Plenty of important fights for numerous divisions, headlined by two title fights are set to take place on Saturday night — with one of the latter being the first title defense of “Bullet” Valentina Shevchenko.
Shevchenko (16-3) finally managed to get her hands on UFC gold in December of last year after two failed attempts at bantamweight, and on Saturday, she is set to begin building her championship legacy at flyweight — in a co-main event showdown against Jessica Eye (14-6).
After the former, and first ever, flyweight champ Nicco Montano failed to show up to defend her belt on multiple occasions, Shevchenko pounced and claimed the vacated belt by convincingly defeating former strawweight champ in Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
While coming ever so close at 135, “The Bullet” simply could not find the recipe to take out arguably the greatest female fighter of all time in Amanda Nunes. But after coming back down to her natural weight class, Shevchenko hasn’t looked back.
Her size and skillset have been far superior to the two opponents she has faced at flyweight so far, and it appears as if it may be more of the same come Saturday night, with Shevchenko set to enter the Octagon as a -1375 favorite.
Jessica Eye will step into the cage on Saturday having finally established a foothold on her initially shaky UFC career. “Evil” Eye arrived into the UFC to compete in the bantamweight division, and her spell of more downs than ups at 135 was concluded in September, 2016, as she was defeated by Bethe Correia, in what was her fourth consecutive loss.
It was make or break time for Eye, as losing four in a row is enough to get anyone relieved of their duties in any organization. In 2017, Eye announced that she intends to compete in the then brand-new UFC flyweight division, and what a perfect fit it has been thus far.
Eye is three for three at flyweight since her return in January, 2018, earning her first title shot after six years at the promotion, and becoming the first challenger to come for Shevchenko’s crown.
On Saturday night, Shevchenko will quite clearly be the greatest challenge that Eye has had to face at flyweight so far, but as the saying goes, to be the best, you have to beat the best; and that will very much be the case for Eye.
The slight advantage that Eye does possess coming into this fight is that all the eyes and pressure will be on Shevchenko, who is expected to make easy work of the Ohio native. And after switching camps in January, Eye is set to enter the Octagon pressure free, and with a clear mind as she attempts to capture the championship gold.
For Shevchenko, it is about building a legacy in her own division, before inevitably returning back up to bantamweight for another crack at the one that got away — the coveted prize that she was already once so close to getting.
With one fighter having it all to lose, and the other with it all to gain, those in Chicago, and the fans watching around the world are in for a thrilling co-main event, on what is shaping up to be a fantastic night of fights to kick off a busy summer in the UFC.
Sports journalist currently based in CA, USA.