Updated: 1 hour ago Posted: 1 hour ago
Eagle River’s Lauren Murphy got the fight she wanted, and it ended in brutality and disappointment on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
World champion Valentina Shevchenko demolished Murphy in the fourth round of her UFC 266 featherweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena.
Shevchenko kept his championship belt viciously, ending it with a kick to Murphy’s face followed by a barrage of quick strikes that backed Murphy defenseless to the ropes.
After successfully defending her title for the sixth time, 33-year-old Shevchenko went from wild beast to ballerina. She danced and spun around the center of the octagon as Murphy, 38, watched from ringside.
Murphy grew up in Eagle River and made his debut as a mixed martial artist 11 years ago at the Alaska Combat Championships. She trains in Houston, Texas, where she lives with her husband, trainer Joe Murphy.
Shevchenko, from Kyrgyzstan, has been fighting since she was young and turned pro at 15. The victory over Murphy was his eighth in a row and puts him 22-3. She’s been the UFC champion since December 2018, and she has dominated all six of her title defenses.
Murphy was coming off five straight wins in the 125-pound flyweight division. She entered the fight as a huge underdog and didn’t do much to challenge while falling to 15-5 all-time, 7-5 in UFC fights.
Murphy has been demanding a shot against Shevchenko for over a year. “Stop neglecting me!” She screamed after a submission victory in October 2020. She won again in June this year and received the offer to face Shevchenko – the fight she wanted – shortly thereafter.
The fight was the main co-event, and one of two title fights, at UFC 266.
In the other main event, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Brian Ortega by unanimous decision to retain the men’s featherweight title.
In another big draw on the card, fan favorite Nick Diaz returned to the Octagon after an absence of more than six years to lose to Robbie Lawler in the third round of a middleweight fight.