UFC Uruguay: Shevchenko and Nunes are on a trilogy fight collision course
If Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes continue their dominance at the rates that they currently are, the trilogy fight in the near future seems almost inevitable.
This is a classic case of two fighters bringing the absolute best out of each other once they are locked in the cage together, while steamrolling through everyone else who is put in front of them.
The first two times Shevchenko and Nunes faced each other, “The Lioness” won quite comprehensively in the first one, but the rematch was different. You could see the effect that the first loss had on Shevchenko, and she came back better the second time around, making the rematch a lot more interesting.
Fight number two also ended in a Nunes victory, but that one was surrounded by a lot of controversy, hence the high demand for a third dance. “The Lioness” won the rematch back in 2017 via split decision, but the popular vote seemed to be that it was Shevchenko who should have got her hand raised that night. And it would have been hard to dispute that had that been the case. But it wasn’t, and despite putting on an admirable performance, Shevchenko tasted defeat at the hands of Nunes again.
Following that fight, the whole Nunes – Shevchenko rivalry had to be put to bed, at least for the time being, because being down 2-0 isn’t really a rivalry, no matter how close one of the fights was. But you had to have a hunch that it would only be a matter of time before those two lock fists again.
There is no way that two alpha females in the primes of their careers, such as Shevchenko and Nunes, can be kept apart forever. And even in spite of quite a significant size discrepancy, there is no one out there that can challenge them quite like they do each other.
But before this conversation can perhaps begin again, Shevchenko has some unfinished business to take care of in the flyweight division, as she is set to face the only other woman to ever put a loss on her record in Liz Carmouche on Saturday.
“The Bullet” has not looked back ever since she got unleashed upon the flyweight division over a year ago. Shevchenko took care of all three opponents that have been put in front of her so far, while finally getting her own championship reign underway. Now, it’s time to get back one of her three career losses.
The sheer brutality and viciousness which Shevchenko brought into the flyweight division makes it difficult to tip Carmouche to pull off an upset in the main event of UFC Uruguay, especially when you take into consideration some of these facts:
Carmouche defeated Shevchenko back in 2010, when “The Bullet” was only a 22-year-old Muay Thai specialist. Nine years later, Shevchenko is a different beast, and a far more complete fighter.
In addition, even though Carmouche is on a two-fight win streak, she is 4-3 in her last seven, with all of those being decisions. And while that could act as a potential key to victory, as Carmouche could try and make this fight a five round slug fest, Shevchenko’s style, endurance, and the pressure that she always puts on her opponents make that option seem rather unrealistic; all while those grueling decision wins and losses do eventually take their toll on your body, as very well may be the case with Carmouche.
So, all things considered, it does seem like Shevchenko and Nunes are on an inevitable collision path, with a trilogy waiting to happen sooner rather than later. And once it does, it is sure to be yet another clinic between arguably two of the greatest female fighters of all time.
Sports journalist based in CA, USA.