'I really don't understand why the victory goes to the other side, ' said the challenger, who lost by unanimous decision to Nunes in their first meeting.
"I'm a new champion". I know at the end of the round she was the one getting exhausted, not me. Nunes wasn't terribly active in her own right in the first and she has been even less so in the second. "For two takedowns over five rounds?"
"I honestly don't care in this moment", Nunes said, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. Shevchenko is also a powerful striker, but relies a little more on her grappling game.
It may not have been the most decisive defense for Nunes, but it answered many questions about her so-called lack of a gas tank, and it also proved she could rise above the adversity of her UFC 213 withdrawal to defend her belt against the consensus next-best fighter in the UFC women's bantamweight division. Shevchenko, 29, who outlanded Nunes 104 to 85 in total strikes, appeared incredulous while shaking her head after the scores were read.
Shevchenko can't say for certain if she'll be next or have to work her way back up the ladder again but her end goal is to face Nunes at least one more time in the future. Nunes lands a hard straight right hand late.
Overall, however, it was a chess match of a fight.
The fans often booed and chanted "Fight, fight, fight!" Nunes was credited with three takedowns in five attempts. Eight of those have come in the first round, including her most recent title defence nine months ago where she stopped Ronda Rousey in just 48 seconds.
And when UFC commentator Joe Rogan mentioned the possibility of a third fight between the pair, Shevchenko was adamant.
With the fight seemingly up for grabs entering Round 5 after four razor-thin rounds of technical striking, Nunes secured a takedown in the final minute, but was unable to do anything from top position as Shevchenko landed clean strikes from her back until the final horn. "[The doctor] tried to help me do everything to get in there, he got me nearly 100-percent". I have friends as well. "When I walk in the cage, my heart was there".
The 11-fight event kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. ET with two fights streaming on UFC Fight Pass. The surgery does not rule out a return this year, although Nunes said she's likely to return in 2018.