BREAKING: Valentina Shevchenko Returns to the Octagon at UFC 266

Published 07/13/2021, 10:57 PM EDT


UFC President Dana White has added two blockbuster title fights to the UFC 266 pay-per-view. The featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will headline the card. Valentina Shevchenko and Lauren Murphy will take the co-main event spot as ‘Bullet’ looks to defend her throne yet again.

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‘Bullet’, currently on a 7-fight winning streak, last defended her title against Jessica Andrade at UFC 266, earning a T/KO victory in her favor. Murphy, on the other hand, is currently riding a 5-fight winning streak in the flyweight division. She last earned a split decision against Joanne Calderwood at UFC 263.

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‘Lucky’ believes she possesses the necessary skill sets to dethrone the flyweight queen. Only time will tell if she can indeed do that.

Apart from that, Volkanovski will defend his featherweight title against ‘T-City‘ in the main event. The duo is currently coaching the TUF 29 season. One can expect a cracking fight for the 145 lbs title in the headliner. Ortega will make a bid for the title for the second time in his career. In his previous attempt at UFC 231, Max Holloway defeated him.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Alexander Volkanovski of Australia celebrates after his split-decision victory over Max Holloway in their UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Also, the pay-per-view will see the much-anticipated return of Nick Diaz to the Octagon. The Stockton native will take on former foe Robbie Lawler in a rematch.

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Can Lauren Murphy cause an upset against Valentina Shevchenko?

Shevchenko is the true definition of a dominant champion. Many believed Jessica Andrade possessed the perfect recipe to trouble ‘Bullet’. But the champion showed a new layer to her game and completely dominated Andrade, who herself is a former strawweight titleholder.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 20: Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan poses on the scale during the UFC 255 weigh-in at UFC APEX on November 20, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Shevchenko‘s ability to adapt according to different opponents is something remarkable and makes her stand out from the rest of the pack. Whether Murphy can cause an upset, remains to be seen. But ‘Lucky‘ has to be sharper than ever to do so.

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Apratim Banerjee

1177 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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