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On Saturday, June 8, UFC 238, one of the most stacked MMA cards this year, is set to take place at the United Center in Chicago. The three marquee fights on the main card, which airs on pay-per-view at 10:00 p.m. EST, include Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone, Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye, and Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes.
Shevchenko, who won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight belt against Joanna Jedrzejczyk (Yurm-Jay-Check) in December of last year, is set to defend her 125-pound title against up-and-comer Jessica Eye. In an interview with M&F, “The Bullet” didn’t seem too concerned.
“I did everything I could in my training camp,” Shevchenko says. “I’m in good shape. I’m feeling strong, and confident that all of my experience is going to help me in this fight.”
With 19 fights under her belt, Shevchenko only has three losses on her resume, and two of those came at the hands of the current women’s bantamweight champ, Amanda Nunez. But many believe Shevchenko won their second fight handily.
“It was the lucky takedown that she got in the last round,” Shevchenko explains. “This was only one detail that brought on this split decision. Looking back, everyone tells me, ‘Valentina, you won this fight.’ She knows it, which is why she doesn’t like to talk about it. She knows the truth.”
That loss is behind her, though, and the 31-year-old Kyrgyzstan native is more focused on the task at hand. By all accounts, Eye is no pushover. Even though she’s a +900 underdog, according to oddsmakers, she’s managed to win her last three fights and establish her dominance as a 125-pound fighter.
Established in 2017, the women’s division is in need of a face, someone to represent the division. Shevchenko is planning to fill that void and is confident in her ability to handle the continuous pressure that comes with the spotlight—media tours, photo ops, interviews with publications like M&F.
“I feel good about being the new face of women’s flyweight division,” Shevchenko says. “Before I started to fight in the UFC, I was already a 17-time world champion, so I know exactly what kind of pressure to expect and I know how to manage all of it.”
Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes
Current men’s flyweight champion and former Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo is looking to become a double champ by beating Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title. This past January, Cejudo knocked out the former bantamweight champ, T.J. Dillashaw, in just 30 seconds during a flyweight fight. (Dillashaw was suspended for two years after testing positive for erythropoietin, or EPO.) Moraes (22-5), who has won his last three fights by way of finish, is looking to finally ascend the rankings to become the 135-pound champ.
Tony Ferguson vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
In April 2018, Tony Ferguson tore his LCL by tripping over a studio cable. Yeesh. His scheduled title fight with the current 155-pound king, Khabib Nurmagomedov, was canceled and we were left wondering when we’d see “El Cucuy” again. Well, he returned just six months later and put on one of the most savage bloodbaths fans have seen against Anthony Pettis at UFC 229. Now, with Khabib suspended for trying to flying head-kick Conor McGregor’s entire team last October, and McGregor presumably drowning in his millions of dollars, that leaves one man to fill the void—Cowboy.
With no prior motivation to winning the title, Cerrone is now determined to capture the 155-pound title before he eventually retires. He has the most wins and finishes in the entire league, so don’t sleep on him. Instead, prepare for a potential fight of the year.