Valentina Shevchenko: Meet the only woman who can stop Amanda Nunes

Can she make it to the top of the sport?


Who’s the baddest woman on the planet?

Most people would say that title currently goes to Amanda Nunes. After all, she’s the first woman to ever hold UFC titles in two weight classes, and she’s done it simultaneously as the current UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion.

She’s also all but cleared out both of the weight classes she operates in, defeating every other women’s world champion to ever hold the UFC titles at 135 and 145 pounds along the way.

“The Lioness” is an incredible athlete and a phenomenal fighter. So there can surely be no argument about the identity of the world’s greatest female fighter, right?’s odds are a knockout


That’s because the current UFC women’s flyweight world champion might just be even better – and it might not be long before she gets a chance to prove it.

Meet Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko.

Kyrgyszstan’s Shevchenko is the undisputed queen of the UFC’s women’s 125-pound division and has come closer than any other fighter to defeating Nunes at her peak.

She’s actually faced “The Lioness” twice in UFC competition, at UFC 196 and UFC 215, and there are decent arguments to be had that Shevchenko may have won one of those bouts – or perhaps even both.

I was cageside for the first meeting, at UFC 196, and actually scored the fight to Shevchenko, who dealt well with Nunes’ power striking early on and began to use her more technical skills to edge the contest down the stretch.

The judges disagreed, however, and Nunes took the unanimous decision. At UFC 215 in Edmonton, Shevchenko again took Nunes all the way to the scorecards over five rounds and split the judges in a second losing effort.

Both women have improved massively since those fights but, for my money, Shevchenko is the only woman on the planet good enough to dethrone Nunes right now – we could well see them face off again early next year, or maybe even by the end of 2019.

“Bullet” faces Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Uruguay on Saturday night in a fight she is widely expected to win. If she does, there really isn’t too much left to prove at 125 pounds.

That means a move back up to bantamweight is on the cards, where only one fight makes sense – Nunes vs Shevchenko 3.

She’ll be the betting underdog, but my money will be on “Bullet”.

Get the latest odds for the biggest bouts on

What do you think?