Valentina Shevchenko is leaving Uruguay with the UFC flyweight title still around her waist and that’s what matters most to her.
Following the second defends of her championship on Saturday night, Shevchenko answered criticisms about her fight against Liz Carmouche, which was showered with boos on several occasions from the sold out crowd in Montevideo.
Despite Shevchenko earning a lopsided decision on the judges’ scorecards, the fight may not have lived up to expectations for a main event title fight in the UFC.
For her part, Shevchenko can’t help but be satisfied with her performance because she was champion when the night began and she’s still champion now that the fight is over.
“First of all, of course I’m happy with my victory. I’m very happy to have the belt here and not somewhere else,” Shevchenko said at the post fight press conference. “My opponent, she has her strategy for the fight. She wanted to put me under her game and my goal was not to be [caught] by her game and put my game on top of her.
“My goal was to not give one moment to her and put my game on top of hers. This is what I was doing.”
Shevchenko believes part of the disappointment from fans was probably a result of how she ended her last fight when she landed a jaw-dropping head kick that demolished Jessica Eye in the second round back in June.
“They still have a fresh memory about the knockout [against Jessica Eye] two months ago,” Shevchenko said about the crowd. “They wanted to see the knockout but as I said inside the Octagon, sometimes you do the knockout, sometimes you don’t. It’s not the way to be upset or whatever.
“I think if all fans, people will start to watch more carefully the fight, they will see very beautiful technique and timing and speed and this is all about martial arts. Not only about crazy exchanges, you can be hit or you can lose much more because as I said, you have the belt or you don’t.”
Obviously, Shevchenko would prefer to never hear the crowd booing her but sometimes that comes along with the territory when fans always hope for a thrilling finish in every fight.
“It’s affecting but at the same time you cannot listen too much,” Shevchenko said. “Because fighting opponent, for example like Liz, if you just go with a lot of emotion, she will catch you and put you down. You cannot do it. You have to be very smart fighter.
“Of course it’s affecting but at the same time what’s going to be better make fans feel good and lose your belt? Is it better?”
For her part, Carmouche was largely inactive over all five rounds and she blamed part of that on Shevchenko for not being more aggressive, which would have then allowed her a stronger offensive performance.
Shevchenko quickly brushed off those comments while reminding Carmouche that it takes two to tango and she’s the one leaving with the UFC flyweight title.
“Now it really doesn’t matter too much what she is saying,” Shevchenko said in response to Carmouche. “If she wanted to be aggressive to show a good fight for the fans, she could be more aggressive but she was not.”