Being a UFC champion can’t be easy. Valentina Shevchenko had to go five, hard rounds with challenger Taila Santos on Sunday morning. But at least the flyweight queen gets to relax after the fight.
She shared a photo on Instagram of herself relaxing by the pool at a hotel in Singapore:
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Aside from a large bruise on her inner thigh there is absolutely no sign that Shevchenko has just spent 25 minutes inside the octagon with one of the world’s best flyweights. It was the seventh time that the 34 year old has successfully defended the belt.
But the result doesn’t tell the entire story. It was a below par performance by Shevchenko’s stellar standards and the majority of spectators in Singapore agreed with the one judge who scored the contest for Santos.
Eyebrows were definitely raised when Clemens Werner’s scorecard was announced. He had Shevchenko winning four of the five rounds, seeing the fight at 49-46 which amounted to a comfortable win for the champion.
But it was anything but comfortable and the other two scorecards, which both read 48-47 in favour of different fighters, reflected the fight more realistically. Henry Cejudo was among those who took issue with the 49-46 scorecard:
I love Valentina and I’m a fan of Valentina, but the scoring criteria needs to improve. Keep the sport honest people. 49-46?!?@AnaKarolinaFr #UFC275 pic.twitter.com/Taj4HUGxXM
— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) June 12, 2022
Seeing her relaxing by the pool in a bikini there is certainly nothing to suggest Shevchenko, who has spent a lot of time training in Thailand, should have lost the fight. Her face is completely unmarked but the picture definitely does not tell the whole story.
By contrast Talia suffered a broken orbital and at one stage it looked like the fight would be stopped. But it was caused by an accidental clash of heads rather than a legal strike from Shevchenko.
Still there was a huge difference in the fighter’s appearance by the end of the fight with the Brazilian looking like she had been in a real war while Shevchenko barely had a mark on her:
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Judges shouldn’t take damage that has been inflicted by an illegal blow into consideration but they are only human. It is possible that the huge swelling around Santos’ eye might have tipped a round or two in her opponent’s favour.
Whatever the process by which the judges arrived at their decision the result is official. It will go down in the record brooks as another win for Shevchenko who now has nine victories on the spin.
Ironically her last defeat came by way of split decision in a title fight. She was defeated by Amanda Nunes in a bout that had the Brazilian’s 135lbs belt on the line so Shevchenko will know exactly how Santos is feeling right now.