Murphy showcases incredible toughness, tenacity in UFC title loss to Shevchenko
Eagle River’s Lauren Murphy proved she could take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ in her latest UFC fight.
The 38-year-old pro fighter absorbed a hail of potent punches and killer kicks from champion Valentina Shevchenko during their women’s flyweight title bout at UFC266 in Las Vegas.
In the end, Shevchenko (22-3) proved too much as she mercilessly pounded the Alaskan to earn a fourth-round TKO in the 125-pound title fight that served as the co-main event.
The loss snapped a five-fight win streak for Murphy (15-5), who fell to 7-5 in the UFC and moved into a tie with Anchorage’s Jared Cannonier for the most UFC fights for an Alaskan.
Shevchenko came into the fight as an 8-to-1 favorite and few people gave Murphy a chance to win, let alone be competitive.
But Murphy showcased incredible toughness and tenacity by standing toe-to-toe with the best fighter in the world for nearly four rounds.
A lot of fight fans (especially on Twitter) didn’t think Murphy would make it out of the first round. Shevchenko, after all, is arguably the most dominate pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC.
Armed with an awesome arsenal of power, speed and technique, the 33-year-old is the total package. An all-timer for sure.
In the first round, Shevchenko took control with big, bruising right hands and devastating kicks to Murphy’s left leg.
In the second round, Shevchenko landed uppercuts and forearm strikes, eventually taking Murphy to the mat where she kept her shoulder in Murphy’s throat.
By the third round, Murphy’s left eye was swollen and her left leg was noticeably bright red from all the kicks she had taken.
Yet, Murphy still answered the bell for round four. She showed no quit.
The fight was called with one minute left in the fourth round after Shevchenko landed a head kick followed by a flurry of punches.
The loss shouldn’t overshadow Murphy’s remarkable rise in the sport of mixed martial arts. She got her start in 2010 in the Alaska Fighting Championship before moving on to the Invicta promotion and then earning a promotion to the biggest and baddest MMA league in the world.
Her seven UFC wins is tied with Cannonier for the most for an Alaskan and her 15 pro victories is tied for third, ranking behind only Wasilla’s Jesse Brock (23-9) and Cordova’s Cody McKenzie (16-11).