Shevchenko routs Carmouche to retain UFC title

Shevchenko drops Carmouche in the third (0:26)

Valentina Shevchenko sends Liz Carmouche to the mat with a 1-2 combo in Round 3. (0:26)

"The Bullet" is No. 1. And no one seems close to catching up anytime soon.

Valentina Shevchenko retained her UFC women's flyweight title via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) over Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC Montevideo on Saturday in Uruguay. The result was never in doubt. Shevchenko dominated from start to finish, and Carmouche never mounted any kind of significant offense. Shevchenko outstruck Carmouche 42-18 in significant strikes.

Shevchenko, tied for second with Cris Cyborg on ESPN's pound-for-pound women's MMA list, said afterward that Carmouche has an unorthodox style, and her game plan was to defend against some of those attacks. Perhaps that is why the five-round fight was uneventful at times. The crowd grew impatient during some stretches of inactivity.

"I did everything to assure my victory inside the cage," Shevchenko said.

Shevchenko's 42 significant strikes were the fewest landed in a five-round title fight since Miesha Tate landed 40 against Holly Holm at UFC 196 in 2016.

This was the second fight between Shevchenko and Carmouche. In 2010, Carmouche beat Shevchenko via doctor's stoppage (cut) on a regional show on an Oklahoma Native American reservation.

Shevchenko said she'd like a third fight with UFC women's featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes -- or "whoever else" the UFC wants her to face. Nunes has beaten Shevchenko twice, but both fights were close, and the second fight, in 2017, ended in a disputed decision.

"I want everyone here inside the Octagon," Shevchenko said.

Shevchenko didn't really come close to finishing. She dropped Carmouche with a combination in the third and with a spinning back fist in the fourth. Over the final three rounds, Shevchenko, known for her striking ability as a multiple-time world Muay Thai champion, was able to grind out Carmouche on the ground for stretches.

Shevchenko (17-3), a native of Kyrgyzstan who has lived for years in Peru, has won four straight since that loss to Nunes. She has two straight successful title defenses. Shevchenko, 31, has lost only to Nunes and Carmouche in her MMA career. She has seven career UFC wins, tied for fourth among women in UFC history with Raquel Pennington.

Carmouche (13-7) came in on a two-fight winning streak. The San Diego resident and former U.S. Marine took part in the first UFC women's fight in 2013, a bantamweight title loss to Ronda Rousey. Carmouche, 35, was ranked No. 4 in ESPN's women's flyweight MMA rankings coming in.