Chookagian Favors Winning Over Entertaining Fans
In one of the most important bouts of her career, Katlyn Chookagian faces off against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 247 for the UFC Flyweight Title. A fighter with a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Chookagian will be looking to take out the nearly indestructible Shevchenko, who is considered he golden goose of the women’s flyweight division.
The champion has won four in a row and is 6-1 in her last seven. “Blonde Fighter” (13-2) isn’t taking Valentina (18-3) lightly. She is ready to step into the battlefield and push “Bullet” to the limit. Knowing how intimidating she can be, Chookagian is ready for anything. She isn’t focusing on what the fans say, like doing something unorthodox just for clicks. What she is focusing on is being the best she can be.
“I’m not going to go out there … to do something crazy to be entertaining and then lose,” Chookagian stated to theScore. “It’s like, ‘Oh you know, the fans think I’m entertaining.’ It’s like, ‘Well, the fans don’t pay my bills.’ So if you lose, you don’t get your full paycheck. So for me, that doesn’t really bother me. I think the most important thing is winning… “The thought of being finished doesn’t even come in my mind, because I always focus on winning.”
Chookagian has won two in a row and has won five of her last six. Her last two victories, over Joanne Calderwood at UFC 238 and Jennifer Maia at UFC 244, have both come via unanimous decision. Part of the reason for her wins is her durability and her leg kicks, which have been known to strike at any time. She has only knocked out two fighters before, in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Valentina, a former kickboxing champion, beat Jessica Eye via head kick at UFC 238.
Chookagian is not worried about the kicks of Shevchenko, as her inconsistency on them gives her an advantage.
“There are people online, like, ‘Oh, you gotta watch out for head kicks.’ I’m like, ‘I’ve knocked people out with head kicks, what do you mean?’ (Shevchenko’s) got to watch out just as much as me. I dropped Liz Carmouche with a head kick. (Shevchenko) didn’t do that to her (in their fight).”
Valentina outpointed Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision back at UFC Uruguay in August. It was the fourth time in her career going five rounds. Chookagian has only fought a full five rounds once, in 2016. Regardless of the lack of experience in that department, Katlyn sees the fight going her way thanks to all the time she has.
“I see it being a tough decision,” Chookagian said. “I think my cardio is definitely gonna be a factor, especially if it goes into the later rounds. I see it either going into a decision with me winning or me winning by submission.”
UFC 247 takes place this Saturday, February 8 from inside the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The main event will be Jon Jones defending the Light Heavyweight Title against Dominick Reyes.