The Real Winners and Losers from UFC Fight Night 156
The UFC visited Uruguay for the first time for UFC Fight Night 156 at Antel Arena in Montevideo on Saturday.
Valentina Shevchenko cruised to a unanimous-decision victory over Liz Carmouche in the evening's main event. The story heading into the event was that Carmouche beat Shevchenko several years ago on the regional circuit. But in 2019, Shevchenko is a force the Girl-Rilla could not stop.
In the co-main event, Vicente Luque kept his streak alive by edging out Mike Perry by split decision.
While those are just quick results, one must look deeper to find out the real winners and losers from the event.
Sit back, relax and come along for the journey as we examine those who truly won and lost in Uruguay at UFC Fight Night 156.
Winner: Valentina Shevchenko
Five rounds of work. Five rounds won from all three judges. Valentina Shevchenko continues her domination in the UFC's new flyweight division.
Aside from retaining her championship belt, the win helped to make her increasingly valuable to the UFC.
She is seen as unstoppable. While she may not reach the heights of Ronda Rousey, dominant champions slowly gain traction with fans and become marketable. Anderson Silva did not start out as a star, but after years of destruction, the fans came around. She can continue to build a strong fanbase that will support her efforts in the years to come.
More importantly, she continues to be the only viable challenger to Amanda Nunes.
In their first fight, Nunes held on to a lead in a three-round fight when Shevchenko came on strong. In the rematch, it was a close, contentious decision wherein many scored the fight for Shevchenko, per MMA Decisions.
Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time. But Shevchenko has shown she is near her equal and, in many eyes, perhaps even better. As she continues to win, that trilogy fight will gain steam and give her the biggest possible fight she could hope for in today's landscape.
Winner: Liz Carmouche
Liz Carmouche was swept on the scorecards, and the fight wasn't that thrilling. But as with all things, her being a winner comes from the context of the fight and the fallout.
After the annihilation of Jessica Eye, Shevchenko was seen as unstoppable. While Carmouche didn't threaten for a finish, she proved that she could hang with Shevchenko. That is crucial when bidding to get back into title contention.
Hypothetically, if Carmouche reels off three straight wins with impressive finishes, she will be an enticing option for a trilogy fight against Shevchenko.
Additionally, Carmouche's performance showed how underappreciated she has been throughout her major MMA career. She has competed against the best and shown well. She looked outstanding in her breakout fight against Marloes Coenen, nearly had a rear-naked choke on Rousey and went the distance with Shevchenko.
Carmouche is not being sent out to pasture just yet, and Saturday's showing proved she is among the best at 125 as well as added to her legacy as a top-end fighter who has earned fans' respect.
Loser: Mike Perry
Mike Perry had a noteable change in camps several fights ago, and his performances were getting better. Saturday, the UFC gave him a fighter on a hot streak with a complementary style for what he does best.
And he failed.
Not only did he fail, but he also got busted up with a badly broken nose in the process.
Had Perry won, he could have gotten a big boost in the division. Instead, he comes out looking like the mid-tier fighter that he is. Perry can be shut down by the upper echelon of the division, and while he is going to be a threat with his power, he will never be a serious player as a welterweight.
That is a brutal loss.
Winner: Volkan Oezdemir
What a performance from Volkan Oezdemir—a career-saving showing at that.
Oezdemir was in danger of being seen as a flash in the pan. He came with several quick KOs to get attention and a title shot. After Daniel Cormier torched him, he lost two more.
Entering the fight with Ilir Latifi, a loss could have sent him to the cutting line. Instead, he posted a second-round KO and re-established himself in the light heavyweight division.
Oezdemir will not be right back in the hunt; the light heavyweight division is getting deeper, but it is still thin. And he is one of the few fighters Jon Jones has not fought. He would not be too many more wins from a title shot, especially with finishes. He has done it before, and this was the step he needed to take to do it again.
With his back against the wall, Oezdemir spun off and walked back into the room of contenders.
Winner: Ciryl Gane
The commentator for Ciryl Gane's fight compared him to Francis Ngannou because he is a striker and coming in from France. But those brakes need to be pumped until the fluid runs dry. That's a leap.
Do not let that commentary fool you: Gane is one of the new heavyweight prospects to watch.
The talk was about his striking, and Raphael Pessoa was supposed to have the ground advantage. Instead, the fight hit the mat, and Gane grabbed an arm-triangle choke for the victory.
Gane is not the instant contender some prospects are made out to be, but that can be a good thing. He will be given time to develop his skills. Gane will also help the UFC to fill out a growing heavyweight division. Both of which are crucial.
We will be seeing a lot more from Gane over the years, and if Saturday is any indication, we will be seeing a lot more wins come his way too.
Loser: Tecia Torres
The curious case of Tecia Torres continued at UFC Fight Night 156, and it might have been her last fight in the UFC after four straight losses.
Torres came through Invicta as a top prospect. She was a skilled striker at American Top Team. Her grappling was improving. Somewhere along the line, she stagnated.
And perhaps worst of all, it may not be an issue of talent.
Torres has horrendous game-planning and Fight IQ. She tends to fight to her opponent's strengths and cannot adapt mid-fight. She is a physical presence with good skills, but that is just on paper. In practice, she has found it difficult to get back in the win column to justify all of her prior hype.
This loss stings more than most, and do not be surprised if she is back in Invicta in short order.
Full UFC Fight Night 156 Results
ESPN+ Main Card
- Valentina Shevchenko def. Liz Carmouche by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45).
- Vicente Luque def. Mike Perry by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
- Luiz Eduardo Garagorri def. Humberto Bandenay by unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
- Volkan Oezdemir def. Ilir Latifi by KO at 4:31 of the second round.
- Rodolfo Vieira def. Oskar Piechota via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:26 of the second round.
- Enrique Barzola def. Bobby Moffett by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).
ESPN+ Preliminary Card
- Gilbert Burns def. Alexey Kunchenko by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Ciryl Gane def. Raphael Pessoa Nunes via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:12 of the first round.
- Marina Rodriguez def. Tecia Torres by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
- Rogerio Bontorin def. Raulian Paiva Frazao at TKO at 2:56 of the first round.
- Chris Gutierrez def. Geraldo de Freitas by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28).
- Alex da Silva Coelho def. Rodrigo Vargas by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
- Veronica Macedo def. Polyana Viana via submission (armbar) at 1:09 of the first round.