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UFC Fight Night 156 predictions — Valentina Shevchenko vs. Liz Carmouche: Fight card, start time, odds

Ever since she made the transition from a decorated Muay Thai champion to a full-time mixed martial artist, the only time fans have seen Valentina Shevchenko taste defeat has been in a pair of close decision losses to two-division UFC champion Amanda Nunes. 

Shevchenko (17-3), the UFC women’s flyweight champion, has one other defeat on her professional record, of course. It’s just that no one has ever seen video or pictures of the fight, mostly because neither appear to exist. 

The history books will show that Shevchenko lost a bantamweight bout to former UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche in 2010. The fight took place in obscure Concho, Oklahoma, under the banner of the equally obscure C3 Fights. Shevchenko, a native of Kyrgyzstan who was returning to MMA that night after a four-year break, lost via second-round TKO due to a doctor’s stoppage on a cut. 

While many fans continue to wait to see whether Shevchenko will get a third shot at defeating Nunes due to how disputed the decision in their 2017 rematch was, “Bullet” will get a chance to redeem herself against Carmouche (13-6) on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Montevideo, Uruguay.  

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For Shevchenko, fresh off a highlight-reel knockout of Jessica Eye in her first title defense, the South American booking makes sense considering she has called Peru a second home for nearly a decade. The idea of gaining revenge upon Carmouche, however, isn’t something that is front on her mind. 

“For me, it’s one more fight, my second title defense,” Shevchenko told MMAJunkie. “I’m happy that it’s going in Uruguay because Latin America is a huge part of my life and we have lived there for eight years with the culture and the people. There is one country we never visited and it’s Uruguay. It’s perfect timing and everything good.

“I know it’s going to be a good fight because Liz is a stronger fighter but I’m going to do everything I can to keep my belt for a long, long time.”

While Shevchenko has spoken briefly about what went down in 2010 during a fledgling MMA show titled Red River Rivalry, it’s Carmouche who has done a much better job filling in the details that time and a lack of media attention may have forgotten. 

Carmouche was 4-0 at the time of their first meeting but had been a pro for just six months. According to her recollections, she was tricked by both the promotion and the local commission that she would be fighting Shevchenko’s older sister Antonina, currently a UFC flyweight contender, who had just three pro fights at that point and hadn’t competed in MMA for five years. 

Come the day of the fight, Carmouche quickly realized she was slated to instead be facing a decorated veteran in Shevchenko who made her MMA debut in 2003 and was beginning to collect kickboxing world titles around the globe. That doesn’t mean Carmouche, a former Marine, was willing to turn down the fight down.

“At that point, I wasn’t willing to say no for an opportunity and I took it and managed a way to come out with the win,” Carmouche said during a recent media scrum. “This will be very different. I have been training now for 10 years and this one will go very different and be a win for myself.”

Like Shevchenko, the 35-year-old Carmouche spent much of her UFC career fighting above her natural weight at 135 pounds, where she famously faced Ronda Rousey in the inaugural women’s bout in UFC history in 2013. Carmouche nearly halted Rousey’s meteoric rise to crossover fame before it started by taking her back and applying a face crank before Rousey broke free and tapped her out via armbar. 

UFC’s decision to create a 125-pound division was music to Carmouche’s ears. She’s 2-1 at flyweight and enters this weekend having won four of five fights. Having already survived the stress that came with headlining a pay-per-view opposite Rousey, Carmouche believes now is the perfect time for her to finally secure UFC gold in this rematch.

“I just consider it as if [the first Shevchenko fight] never happened,” Carmouche told The ScoreMMA. “I was such a different fighter then and so green to the sport so it would be foolish for me to think the things I did well then would help me in this fight.

“[Shevchenko] looks like exactly the same fighter to me. She stuck to the game plan that she feels has worked for her and she hasn’t evolved very much. As for me, I look day and night compared to the fighter I used to be.” 

Shevchenko explained her transition from a technical counter striker at bantamweight to a destroyer at 125 pounds as being solely related to size. 

“I was waiting for so long to fight at my natural weight class and it’s so different when you are fighting someone bigger and taller,” Shevchenko said. “It changes the game because you have to think more about power and technique for the fight to engage but not get into dangerous strikes. It is very easy to go into the fight and go and exchange. Anyone can do it, you will hit or be hit. It’s not that smart. But to be truly a martial artist, you have to fight not only with your muscles but with your head as well. This is what I was doing only at bantamweight but in flyweight it is more of a combination.” 

While it might be a stretch to suggest Shevchenko is dismissive of what makes Carmouche dangerous, it was clear she’s confident enough to feel she has the advantage regardless of where the fight goes, saying, “I am a mixed martial artist and can do whatever. No problem for me at all.”

Should she defend her title once more and avenge her first pro defeat, Shevchenko knows that a champion versus champion match is likely an inevitable outcome for her future whether it be a trilogy bout with Nunes at bantamweight or from a recent callout by strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, who began her career at 135 pounds. 

“[An Andrade fight] is interesting. Let’s see what happens after her fight with [Weili Zhang],” Shevchenko said. “You never know what is going to happen in the future. If you are speaking about me and Amanda, it is so complicated with all these things going around. Let’s see what they are deciding but our third fight is going to happen anyway. I don’t know if it will happen sooner or later or when but I know it’s going to happen.”

Also on this card are a pair of welterweights looking to make a statement as Vicente Luque battles “Platinum” Mike Perry. Luque is riding a four-fight winning streak with each win coming via TKO stoppage. Perry, meanwhile, bounced back from a submission loss to Donald Cerrone with a decision win over Alex Oliveira in April. Plus, Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi finally link up in a light heavyweight showdown.

Fight card, odds

Favorite Underdog Weightclass

Valentina Shevchenko (c) -1200

Liz Carmouche +700

Women’s flyweight title

Vicente Luque -220

Mike Perry +180


Luiz Garagorri -125

Humberto Bandenay +105


Volkan Oezdemir -145

Ilir Latifi +125

Light heavyweight

Rodolfo Vieira -220

Oskar Piechota +180


Enrique Barzola -130

Bobby Moffett +110



Carmouche has always been a tough out due to her toughness and wrestling game. It’s hard to build a case for victory in this one, however, simply because of how dominant Shevchenko has been since moving down in weight.  

Shevchenko has evolved into a creative finisher with a strong ground game and an ability to fight for points from distance should things get hairy. Look for her to systematically break Carmouche down before finishing the fight on the ground. 

Pick: Shevchenko via SUB2