Valentina Shevchenko vs Lauren Murphy
September 25, 2021 11:25 pm EDT
The Line: Lauren Murphy +850 / Valentina Shevchenko -1700
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Valentina Shevchenko and Lauren Murphy fight Saturday in UFC 266 at the T-Mobile Arena. Shevchenko enters this fight with a 21-3 record and has won 33 percent of her fights by submission. Murphy enters this fight with a 15-4 record and has won 53 percent of her fights by knockout.
Shevchenko has won seven straight fights and is coming off a April win over Jéssica Andrade. Shevchenko is averaging 3.02 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Shevchenko is averaging 2.64 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 63 percent. Shevchenko is coming off a knockout win at UFC 261 where she landed 90 total strikes. Shevchenko now has three knockouts in her last five wins and four of her last eight wins have been decided in the second round. Shevchenko is arguably the most efficient striker on the women’s side, as she’s highly accurate with her attempts and has good variety thanks to her background in kickboxing and Muay Thai. Shevchenko has an impressive work rate and can overwhelm her opponent once she gets comfortable. Shevchenko is very effective with counters and knows how to close distance well that set up those leg kicks nicely. While her stand up striking is probably where she’s most comfortable, Shevchenko has seven career submissions and a black belt in Judo, so don’t sleep on her grappling and ground game. At 33 years old, Shevchenko is running out of legit competition to threaten her title. This will be Shevchenko’s third career fight in Nevada.
Murphy has won her last five fights and is coming off a June win over Joanne Calderwood. Murphy is averaging 3.95 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Murphy is averaging 1.16 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 34 percent. Murphy is coming off a decision victory at UFC 263 where she landed 121 total strikes, 54 percent of her significant shots and produced one takedown. Murphy is now 7-4 under the UFC banner and will fight for her first belt since the Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship in late 2013. Murphy started her pro career with very little experience, and she’s become an effective striker with knockout pop and uses her knees and elbows extremely well. A brown belt in BJJ, Murphy is also an effective grappler with decent takedown defense, and only one of her 19 career fights have ended in a submission. At now 38 years old, the time is now if Murphy is ever going to find the top of the mountain. This will be Murphy’s third career fight in Nevada.
Murphy is on a decent run at the moment, she has some pop in her strikes and her BJJ has improved over the last year or so. At 38 years old, Murphy deserves this title shot. However, Shevchenko is a machine you shouldn’t be looking to bet against and she’s made light work of better fighters if we’re being honest. I just don’t see any fighter in this division anytime soon giving Shevchenko an issue.
Give me Shevchenko to win inside distance.