Valentina Shevchenko suffered foot injury before defeating Taila Santos at UFC 275

While an accidental clash of heads may have hindered Taila
in the championship rounds of the UFC 275 co-main event, flyweight queen Valentina
was also apparently limited during Saturday’s fight in Singapore.

Shevchenko revealed at the UFC 275 post-fight press conference that she was at less than 100 percent due to a foot injury. “Bullet” didn’t reveal the specifics behind the ailment, but pulling out was never an option. It did, however, prevent her from engaging in her traditional celebratory post-fight victory dance.

“Coming into the fight, I was injured. My foot was injured. All week, fight week, UFC Performance Institute, physical therapists they were working on my foot to get it back into the best shape,” Shevchenko said. “The few kicks that I had like super strong, it injured my foot … I hope it’s nothing serious that could delay my return to the Octagon, but this is the reason why I didn’t dance.

“Considering pulling out of the fight? Never. Every time I have something, I try to deal with that first and actually I could not walk on my foot when I got this injury. I could not jump on it. But thankfully to the [physical therapists], they were able to get me back and I kind of felt OK. When you’re in the fight, you have all this adrenaline and you just kick no matter what and you kick and think what’s going to happen.”

The bout itself was the toughest test of Shevchenko’s flyweight reign to date. Santos controlled much of the grappling, but Shevchenko held an advantage in significant strikes (77 to 55), total strikes (234 to 128) and appeared to get stronger as the fight progressed. That ultimately carried more weight on the scorecards than Santos’ control.

“I did everything I had to do,” Shevchenko said. “I had challenging fight. I had five rounds, and this is exactly what I wanted, an opponent who is not giving up in the first second and goes until the end. In this kind of fight you can show what you’re made of. Your character, your mindset. No matter how hard, no matter how difficult.

“She was inactive, and me being even in that position I was striking, and I was feeling the power of the strikes, and I felt how she reacted because it was hurting her. This is what counts the most in mixed martial arts, is damage. I could even feel in the fight round to round, you could see more damage showing on her face more and more.”

While a return to bantamweight remains an intriguing option for Shevchenko, she will be keeping a close eye on the Miesha
clash scheduled for UFC 276. Tate has the type of star power that could keep her at 125 pounds if she doesn’t face the Julianna

“I have to mention, July we have in flyweight we have an amazing fight between two very strong fighters. It’s Lauren
and Miesha
,” Shevchenko acknowledged. “It’s going to be an amazing fight. If Lauren
gets a victory, a rematch maybe but not that soon. Miesha
wins the fight, I think this is what fans are going to love to see and end of the year, pay-per-view, main event, I think it’s going to be great.

“But still another option is Julianna and Amanda in bantamweight. Once it’s going to be more towards finalizing, I will work to building my body a little bit heavier, just a little bit so not to lose the speed. A lot of options for me, just to choose which one.”

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