Valentina Shevchenko expected to defend UFC belt against Katlyn Chookagian

UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is expected to make the next defense of her belt opposite Katlyn Chookagian on Feb. 8 at an as yet unannounced UFC event.

The event is targeted to be a pay-per-view in Houston, but its numbering hasn’t been worked just yet, as the promotion has yet to finalize details of a Jan. 18 event in Las Vegas. If the January date pans out as Conor McGregor’s return, it will be UFC 246 and the Houston date would be UFC 247, but details have yAftet to be sorted on that.

Either way, sources confirmed an ESPN report that Shevchenko has agreed to defend the belt against Chookagian on Feb. 8. 

Shevchenko (18-3) won the flyweight title by defeating former strawweight titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 after inaugural champion Nicco Montaño was forced the vacate the championship. Montaño was transported to the hospital because of issues related to her weight cut prior to a scheduled bout with Shevchenko at UFC 228.

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Shevchenko won a unanimous decision over Jedrzejczyk, then went on to knock out Jessica Eye before winning another unanimous nod over Liz Carmouche. 

Chookagian (13-2) is 4-1 since returning to the flyweight division in early 2018. Her only defeat was a split-decision loss to Eye to close out 2018. She has since strung back-to-back decision wins over Joanne Calderwood and Jennifer Maia, putting her in position to challenge for the belt.

The women’s flyweight championship joins a fight card expected to also host a heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and former light heavyweight contender Ilir Latifi, who is making his heavyweight debut.