Valentina Shevchenko beat Holly Holm Saturday in Chicago, winning by a unanimous decision outpointing the former UFC champion.

Flashback to two months ago, Shevchenko’s trainer, Pavel Fedotov was at a restaurant in Peru when it was raided and robbed by armed thugs. Pavel was shot in the abdomen during the robbery.  He has recovered fully and was in Chicago Saturday for UFC on FOX 20 in his fighters corner.

Shevchenko stated “It was a very different camp than I had to endure in all my life. After two days when he (Pavel) was in the hospital he said, you should take this fight and prepare. It doesn’t matter what happened.”

Very strong words from a man who almost lost his life. Hats off to Valentina for staying the course when faced with adversity. I can’t prove it,  but you and I both know that this played a HUGE part in this win.

Shevchenko (13-2) has now put herself in the mix of contenders for the women’s bantamweight title in UFC at 135 pounds that is held by Amanda Nunes, whom she lost to in March at UFC 196. If, in fact, we do get to see this bout, I don’t think Shevchenko can continue to ride this emotional wave.

After her KO of then-champ Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, Holm (10-2) was thrust into the spotlight of women’s combat fighting and MMA. This is very sad to me because she is a highly decorated champion outside the octagon with multiple titles to her credit, and got little to no love from fight fans around the world versus the media darling Rousey.

Holm stated after the bout:

“I know I’m capable of more. I think I just need to believe in myself a little more. Like I said, I know I can do more. I didn’t perform well tonight. Valentina is really tough, we know that. It’s not like I haven’t been taught the right things, it all comes down to my performance, it wasn’t great tonight. I’ve never in my career, whether it be boxing or MMA ever felt like that I’m at the top because I always know there is somebody else aspiring to be the best. Just as I first came into MMA, I want to have titles in both. I had drive in me. I still do, so I never look at a division and think I made it to the top and I’m just going to stay there. There is always somebody hungry.”

Since losing to Miesha Tate at UFC 196, Holm has been focused on one thing: getting her belt back. Just like Josh Davis and I both stated on The Press Box Insider last week, Holm had to be dominant in this fight, and she wasn’t. Holm had losing scores of 49-46 from all of the judges. The road back to UFC gold will now be much longer for this decorated champion.

 

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Dante DeMarco