UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko dominated Katlyn Chookagian on Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 247 in Houston. After the second-round stoppage, the 31-year-old from Kyrgyzstan who lives and trains in Las Vegas wasted no time in getting back to being one of the most compelling and dynamic personalities in the sport.
Shevchenko posted a video of herself dancing on Instagram Tuesday. The fighter’s Russian gypsy dance hearkens to something like that of the Spanish version of the dance, the Flamenco.
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Shevchenko Pleased With UFC 247 Performance
After defeating Chookagian at UFC 247, Shevchenko seemed pleased with her performance.
“I feel total happiness,” Shevchenko said. “This is what I feel every single time. I worked so hard and I think all athletes feel the same: they struggle during several months, they cut weight, they train hard… When you are done with what you’re supposed to do, you can’t feel any better. It’s the best feeling.”
Shevchenko seemed especially thrilled that her third title defense came in Houston. After all, that was Shevchenko’s last stop after moving from Kyrgyzstan to Peru, and before she moved to Las Vegas around two years ago.
“It was really special fighting in Houston,” Shevchenko said. “As I said in the Octagon, Houston was the start of my US fighter career. Now I’m here as a UFC champion back in Houston, it feels amazing.”
Indeed, the UFC champ spent much of the week before UFC 247 visiting her favorite places around the area.
Shevchenko Knew She Would Finish Opponent
In grading her performance, Shevchenko said she didn’t want to rush things against the lanky Chookagian, but knew she had the American figured out early in the fight. Shevchenko said she had paid particular attention to what Chookagian was saying about her skill set during the promotional buildup in comparison to her own.
“Before the fight, you hear so many things from your opponent: that she is better standing up, she is better somewhere else… So, I wanted to feel how good she was besides just words,” Shevchenko said. “I started showing that no, you are not better in the distance; you are thinking that maybe you have longer arms and legs, but it doesn’t help you. And then I started to put more and more pressure.”
But not only did Shevchenko prove she was the better fighter from the outside, but she also was able to show her strength advantage when the two fighters clinched. In fact, Shevchenko slammed her opponent down hard in the first round and opened up a huge cut on Chookagian with a huge elbow strike from top position.
That was the beginning of the end.
“In the end of the first round, I cut her and since that, I knew that it wouldn’t last the five rounds,” Shevchenko said. “I knew I had to finish it.”
Shevchenko Excited About Her Future Title Defenses
Shevchenko told the media after her win that she was excited about future fights but that she was also happy to have some time to rest now.
“I had some hard months of work,” Shevchenko said. “That doesn’t mean that I felt bad about it. It was hard, but it is my life. It’s what I’m supposed to do every single day. Now I want to rest a little bit.”
While some have suggested the women’s flyweight should go after bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes next, Shevchenko dismissed the idea as something that might happen but not in the immediate future.
“Right now I’m focused on flyweight, but as I have been saying, I’m open for anything,” Shevchenko said. “When the time is right for any specific fight, I’ll be ready, but right now I’m thinking of flyweight.”
Until then, Shevchenkow will be eyeing her next women’s flyweight title defense. That, and she’ll be dancing, of course.