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Valentina Shevchenko heaps praise on Claressa Shields for transitioning from boxing to MMA

Valentina Shevchenko (left); Claressa Shields (right)
Valentina Shevchenko (left); Claressa Shields (right)
Johny Payne
SENIOR ANALYST

Reigning UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko heaped praise on Claressa Shields for transitioning from boxing to MMA.

Valentina Shevchenko noted that Shields’ male counterparts in boxing could learn from her and compete in MMA if they want to prove a point, rather than just challenge MMA fighters to meet them in a boxing ring.

Speaking to James Lynch on MiddleEasy, Valentina Shevchenko opened up on multiple topics. Among those topics was Claressa Shields’ recent third-round TKO win in her MMA debut against Brittney Elkin at PFL 4 (June 2021). Valentina Shevchenko stated:

“I saw just a little bit that I can see from the Instagram Stories or something like that. Yeah, and it’s like a little bit here, a little bit there. So, I know it was a three-round fight, right? And first, it was a lot of grappling. But last, third round, it was like, she just went and like, destroyed her opponent.
“I didn’t see the real, the real like, motion. But I think it’s amazing. You know, she showed example for all, like, male boxers. They’re like keeping saying, ‘Okay’, challenging MMA fighters, ‘Come here. I’m here. Let’s do in boxing match’. But she actually showed if you want to prove someone something, you not gonna just like call in for everyone, ‘Oh, come into my rules. Come into my home. And I will do, like, fights with you’. No. If you want to prove something, you actually go into their house, and will fight under their rules, and give a spectacular fight; make there, like, big things.
“And this is really, the real thing. It’s not like promotion. It’s not hype. It’s not like things like that. It’s just like love for martial arts and for the sport in general. And this is, I say, a very good example how the things have to be.”

Furthermore, Valentina Shevchenko notably praised Claressa Shields’ love for martial arts and for the sport in general.

Valentina Shevchenko expressed her appreciation for Claressa Shields’ preparation and training for her MMA debut

Valentina Shevchenko is coming off a spectacular second-round TKO win over Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 (April 2021)
Valentina Shevchenko is coming off a spectacular second-round TKO win over Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 (April 2021)

James Lynch pointed to the incredible fight IQ and composure displayed by Claressa Shields in her MMA debut despite being taken down and out-worked early in the fight. Valentina Shevchenko addressed this and expressed her appreciation for Shields’ preparation and training for her MMA debut. ‘Bullet’ stated:

“Oh, I think in her training camp, in her preparation, she was prepared for this. And she definitely knew where she was going to be and what kind of position. And definitely she was working on it. That’s why it’s kind of like, okay, if you don’t know something, you’re gonna feel like panic or something like that. But if you know what to expect, how to avoid this, or what to get; MMA is like, before the fight is over, like completely, or time, or you tap, or whatever, it’s not over. That’s why there is no reason to panic yet.” (*Video courtesy: MiddleEasy; H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

The consensus in the MMA community is that Valentina Shevchenko is likely to defend her UFC women’s flyweight title against Lauren Murphy next. Valentina Shevchenko has indicated that she’d like her next fight to transpire this fall, meaning she could likely return to the octagon as soon as September 2021.

Meanwhile, Claressa Shields has suggested that she’d like to have her second MMA fight in August or September 2021. Presently, Shields seems to be focusing more on her MMA career than her boxing career. The legendary boxer is part of the ongoing 2021 PFL women’s lightweight tournament.


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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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