Valentina Shevchenko has been unstoppable in the UFC Flyweight division and it has left the fans wondering what is next for the reigning champion. Interestingly, Shevchenko has cleaned out most of the top-ranked contenders in the division but it will only be a matter of time before she gets new challengers.
With that said, here are three names that could challenge Valentina Shevchenko in the Flyweight division in 2022.
Honorable Mention: Tatiana Suarez
Tatiana Suarez vs. Valentina Shevchenko is hands down an exciting matchup. Suarez is 8-0 in her professional MMA career and has been tagged as ‘The Female Khabib’ by many fans. She has been out of action for more than two years due to injury but Suarez is expected to make her return later this year. The American holds wins over Nina Nunes, Carla Esparza, and Alexa Grasso and it would be interesting to see how her wrestling will match up against the striking skills of Shevchenko.
5. Miesha Tate
The former UFC Bantamweight champion has already expressed her desire to move to Flyweight. She even mentioned about a fight with Shevchenko. With rumors of a fight between Tate and Lauren Murphy making rounds, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see Tate fighting Shevchenko in 2022 provided that she defeats Murphy. As Tate is a big name, it would be an attractive option for the promotion as well.
4. Alexa Grasso
Alexa Grasso is currently ranked 11th in the UFC Women’s Flyweight division. The Mexican has a fight coming up against Joanne Wood as well. Grasso is currently on a two-fight winning streak and has a professional record of 13-3 to her name. All three of her losses came in the UFC but at the same time, she holds wins over names like Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Maycee Barber, and Randa Markos.
Grasso might not be considered as an immediate challenger for Shevchenko but with a couple of wins under her belt, she could be on her way to the title shot.
3. Taila Santos
The Brazilian Taila Santos has been on an impressive run and holds a professional record of 19-1 to her name. She is currently on a four-fight winning streak and has outclassed names like Joanne Wood, Roxanne Modafferi, Gillian Robertson, and Molly McCann in her last four outings. The only loss in her career came against Mara Borella back in February 2019 and that too was a split decision.
Taila has the knockout power with her and at the same time, has a solid ground game that could test Shevchenko. What increases the chances of Taila is that all the fighters ranked above her in the Flyweight division have been defeated by Shevchenko.
2. Manon Fiorot
Manon Fiorot is on an impressive run in the UFC at the moment. The French MMA star is undefeated in the promotion and holds a professional record of 8-1 to her name. She is set to have a real test at UFC 272 when she fights Jessica Eye and if Manon manages to outclass a veteran like Eye, she could fast track herself to a title shot.
What works for Manon is her extensive Amateur MMA background. Though she has only had nine fights in the professional circuit, Manon is a former IMMAF Bantamweight World Champion which is something worth noting. Then again, Manon will have to work her way up the ladder before she can get a shot at Shevchenko and the fight with Jessica Eye will be the first major hurdle.
1. Casey O’Neill
Case O’Neill was selected as the newcomer of the year 2021 by the UFC a few weeks back. After making her UFC debut back in February 2021, Casey has been on an impressive run that saw her pick-up wins over Shana Dobson, Lara Procopio, and Valentina’s sister Antonina Shevchenko. The Scot is now scheduled to fight Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 271 and will be looking to extend her undefeated professional MMA record of 8-0. Considering the pace at which O’Neill is climbing the UFC ranks, it would be just a matter of time before she fights Valentina Shevchenko.
What are the fights that you would like to see featuring Valentina Shevchenko? Let us know in the comment section of the article below.