LAS VEGAS — Valentina Shevchenko was denied the opportunity to fight Amanda Nunes at UFC 213, so she threw some haymakers at the women’s bantamweight champion during her meeting with reporters at T-Mobile Arena.
“I was very upset with what happened, and I couldn’t believe it until the very last moment that this is happening to me,” Shevchenko said Saturday night, as the UFC 213 card unfolded without her.
Nunes pulled out of the title fight because of an illness that Shevchenko attributed to a failed weight cut. She doubled down on that belief in her talk with reporters, estimating that Nunes’ cut to 135 would require about 20 pounds because she looked big in workouts.
Shevchenko also recounted her reaction to the news that Nunes had been hospitalized and the fight might not happen.
“Maybe it’s not true, it’s something like a joke, because she was feeling good in workouts, she was feeling so powerful,” Shevchenko said. “I didn’t want to believe this. But after maybe a few hours, UFC called to my manager and said, this will not happen, this fight, and I was like, no.”
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who offered to fight Shevchenko on just hours’ notice, felt bad for both fighters.
“MMA is a difficult sport,” Jedrzejczyk said before Shevchenko addressed reporters. “It’s all about being the strongest physically and mentally as well. But, you know, the weight cuts, the preparations are very heavy, very hard and very tough for our bodies. …
“I know (Nunes will) be back soon. She’s the champion for a reason. But I feel sorry for Valentina Shevchenko. It was her big chance to fight for the title. .. I hope you will see them fighting very soon.”
Thumbnail photo via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images