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Valentina Shevchenko offers surprising congratulations to former UFC bantamweight: ‘I am willing to check your skills’

UFC 275: Shevchenko v Santos Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Valentina Shevchenko is finding an abundance of new title threats in 2023.

UFC 285 on March 4, 2023, will be “The Bullet’s” first fight since June 2022 when she successfully defended her Flyweight crown for a seventh straight time, earning a split decision against Taila Santos (watch highlights). Meanwhile, new fresh contenders have emerged such as her next opponent, Alexa Grasso, France’s Manon Fiorot, and most recently from this past weekend (Feb. 18, 2023), Erin Blanchfield.

Outside of UFC, however, a former UFC Bantamweight has dropped back to Flyweight since their two-fight stint in 2014 and 2016, and that’s Japan’s Rin Nakai (26-2-1). At DEEP JEWELS 40 this past weekend (Feb. 18, 2023), the current DEEP JEWELS Flyweight champion picked up her first win since becoming champion in May 2022, defeating Aoi Kuriyama via second-round rear-naked choke submission. The win added to Nakai’s finish streak of 10 since departing UFC and she’s made it clear she wants a second shot in the promotion and an eventual clash with Shevchenko.

LIVE! Watch UFC 286 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“.@RinNakai2 Come back to .@ufc get yourself into to #Top10 and I am willing to check your skills [two fist emojis] Also congratulations with your recent victory [fist emoji]” Shevchenko tweeted.

Shevchenko has recently been doing her global travels as she gets ready for Grasso in Japan. The UFC champ has been seen training with the likes of UFC Strawweight prospects, Kanako Murata and Mizuki Inoue, as well as the team at the legendary Abe Ani Combat Club (AACC). Shevchenko was also reportedly in attendance for DEEP JEWELS 40, but it’s unknown if she stayed to see Nakai in the main event.

“You are the world’s greatest and most respected champion who defended the UFC champion seven times and ranked PFP #1,” Nakai replied. “I will never lose to anyone, one battle at a time. I will do my best to go to your place. I want to fight with you.

“I have worked hard for many years to compete in the UFC and become a champion,” she continued. “If you can’t even get out, you can’t even rank 10th. Right now, I will do my best to be able to participate in the UFC first. Valentina Shevchenko player I am honored to receive your reply. Thank you very much [bowing emoji]. you are right. But I want to go back to UFC, but I can’t do it. It’s very troubled. Please win the match on March 5th. i also support.”

Nakai, 36, saw her only two career losses come in UFC by unanimous decisions against Miesha Tate and Leslie Smith.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 285 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/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 285: “Jones vs. Gane” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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