MMA Ratings Podcast

February 5, 2020

UFC 247: Katlyn Chookagian Is An Underdog With A Chance To Bite Valentina Shevchenko

By Raphael Garcia

Betting odds can be a difficult concept to sort through, but the easiest way to think about those numbers is that they represent the chance that fighter A has of defeating fighter B, based on the assessment predictions from those in the know. The larger the number, the smaller the likelihood. Using that logic, Katlyn Chookagian has a lot to overcome if she’s going to defeat UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko this weekend at UFC 247. The odds may be long against her, but an upset by Chookagian shouldn’t be looked at as an impossible feat, especially with the wild nature of MMA at play.

According to the major odds websites, Chookagian is a massive underdog in the co-main event of this weekend’s UFC showcase. Some outlets had her sitting at +1100 at one point, while Best Fight Odds has her anywhere from a +950 to a +645. But regardless of where those numbers eventually close out, we can expect a wide disparity between the perception of Chookagian's chances and those of the champion. However, there are scenarios in which Chookagian leaves the event as champion.

As a volume striker who looks to outpace opponents, Chookagian's activity tends to build a case to the judges that she is making more of an impact than her opponents are, even if her striking attempts aren’t consistently landing. We’ve seen this type of strategy lead to advantageous scoring for fighters in the past, and even though fans may want to see rampant violence with brutal stoppages, winning a bout through so-called "point fighting" is a highly effective way to not only reach title contention, but to actually secure said championship. Frankie Edgar, who is a teammate of Chookagian, used a comparable style to help him capture the UFC Lightweight Championship, and Chookagian’s style mirrors his.

Her opponent, Shevchenko, isn’t usually a fighter that leads in striking exchanges inside of the Octagon. She punishes fighters that try to stay in the pocket with her, laying in combinations once the range closes. Against Chookagian it will be interesting to see just how long Shevchenko is able to keep the fight in close quarters before Chookagian is back outside of Shevchenko’s range. If Chookagian can control the action while making Shevchenko miss on her counters, landing on her entries before moving out of the way, the points will add up on the judges’ cards.

But in order to successfully implement this game plan, Chookagian will need to avoid the takedown. Grapplers have found some success against the Pennsylvania native, and Shevchenko has scored at least one takedown in almost all of her UFC contests; the only one she was unsuccessful was her second bout against Amanda Nunes at UFC 215. Shevchenko is the favorite for a reason, and her ability to dictate where the fight takes place is a big part of that.

The style matchup between Valentina Shevchenko and Katlyn Chookagian makes this flyweight title contest a bout worth watching. Chookagian is certainly not the major draw fans would like to see in a title challenger, but she has leveraged her abilities to put herself into this position and should not be counted out of this fight. Frankie Edgar walked into his UFC 112 bout in a similar underdog position before taking the lightweight title off B.J. Penn, and TJ Dillashaw faced long odds when he took on and defeated Renan Barao back at UFC 173. Upsets have been known to happen, so keep a close eye on the action when Shevchenko and Chookagian step into the Octagon at UFC 247.

UFC 247
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Katlyn Chookagian (UFC Women's Flyweight Championship)

UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes takes place February 8, 2020 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Click HERE for more UFC 247 Pre-Fight Analysis

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