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Chael Sonnen: Valentina Shevchenko is ‘a thing of folklore,’ but not unbeatable

UFC 275 Media Day Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Valentina Shevchenko aims to continue her historic reign of terror over the Flyweight division this weekend (Sat., June 11, 2022) at UFC 275.

It’s been five years since the Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, native last tasted defeat. Dropping down to 125 pounds in Feb. 2018, Shevchenko has amassed a dominant win streak of eight with seven of those coming in title bouts. With Brazil’s Taila Santos standing in her way this weekend in Kallang, Singapore, Shevchenko can break the record held by Ronda Rousey for most consecutive title defenses by a female UFC champion.

However, as completely unbeatable as “The Bullet” has looked during her time as champion, former three-time UFC title challenger, Chael Sonnen, wants to make it clear that she can be beaten.

LIVE! Watch UFC 276 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) International Fight Week returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., July 2, 2022, capped by a stacked card headlined by a blockbuster championship double header. In UFC 276’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, reigning Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, defends his crown against No. 2-ranked contender, Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has his sights set on successfully defending his title once again against No. 1-seeded contender, Max Holloway, for the third (and likely final) time.

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“How do you beat ‘The Bullet?’ Well, there’s a way to beat her, of course, there is,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Everybody can lose, every dog has his day. ‘The Bullet’ is as close to a perfect fighter as I’ve ever seen.… If somebody wanted to say ‘The Bullet’ is the greatest fighter in the world, the only other argument would be Jon Jones and those skills, the greatest that the Octagon has ever seen, or is ‘The Bullet?’ Her skills are unbelievable, she is a thing of folklore.

“That doesn’t mean she’s unbeatable,” he added. “You could beat ‘The Bullet’ in a fight on her feet, and you don’t have to be better on your feet than she is to do it. You can beat ‘The Bullet’ on the ground, and you don’t have to be better on the ground than she is to do it, the rules allow for that.”

Like Shevchenko, Santos has been tough to beat in her 20-fight career as well, having only suffered defeat in her promotional debut after earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in Aug. 2018. She’s put together a streak of four to earn her first career title shot, last defeating Joanne Wood via first-round rear-naked choke submission in Nov. 2021 (watch highlights).

“Do you believe that ‘The Bullet’s’ opponent this weekend has the ability to weaponize pace? Because that’s actually one of ‘The Bullet’s’ great weapons,” Sonnen said. “She’s not only more skilled with the punches, the kicks, the grappling, the submissions, and the techniques, she can do them harder and throw more at the wall than her opponents do. But there’s ways to beat her, that’s one. Throw more at her, you don’t have to be better than her. ... If you get her tired. You don’t have to be better than her. ... If you can out position her. That’s where the fence — cage control becomes so relevant.”


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 275 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 275: “Teixeira vs. Prochazka” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.