The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Uruguay

Gilbert Burns UFC Fort Lauderdale
Credit: Gleidson Venga/

We look at several fighters from UFC Uruguay who have changed weight classes in their career, including headliner Valentina Shevchenko.

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be very advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class. Known as the ‘fight before the fight,’ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25 pounds, with some fighters even in excess of 30 pounds.

Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and willpower. Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight. In this series, we will shine a light on fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming match-ups. Basically, every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game.

Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (17-3)

Bantamweight (135lbs.): 3-2 (UFC), Bantamweight Title Challenger

Flyweight (125lbs.): 3-0 (UFC), Flyweight Champion (1 successful title defense)

Valentina Shevchenko is the best woman fighter of all time at flyweight, no question. Bullet’s only losses in the Octagon are to the double champion Amanda Nunes at 135-pounds by decision. And coincidentally, Valentina’s lone loss outside of the Octagon is actually against her upcoming opponent, Liz Carmouche, about 10 years ago. Valentina is incredibly technically sound and has some of the best stand up in the promotion, man or woman. It’s not that Shevchenko looked bad at bantamweight, she was just undersized. Flyweight is absolutely perfect for Bullet. Valentina’s extensive Muay Thai experience really shines through in her fights and now that she is fighting at her natural weight and not against bigger women at bantamweight her power, speed, and technique is on full display.

Gilbert “Durinho” Burns (15-3)

Lightweight (155lbs.): 7-3 (UFC)

Welterweight (170lbs.): 1-0 (UFC), First UFC fight was at this weight class

Earlier this year, Gilbert Burns weighted in at a whooping 180-pounds in a grappling bout against former UFC fighter Gleison Tibau. The Brazilian is 5’10” and has a 71″ reach, Burns also possesses a very muscular build and fought the majority of his career at lightweight. In early 2018, Burns had his bout with Olivier Aubin-Mercier cancelled after he was deemed to heavy to even attempt the weight cut. This was a huge point as Burns has struggled mightily with his weight ever since he first entered the UFC. The weight cut is especially important for Gilbert as the best aspects of his game, his grappling and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, benefit from having any type of weight or strength advantage over his opponent. But at 33 in the wake of a pair of terrific submission grappling matches at heavier weights, Durinho has decided that he is ready to eliminate his excessive weight cut and take his skills back up to 170.

Polyana “Poly” Viana (10-3)

Strawweight (115lbs.): 1-2 (UFC)

Flyweight (125lbs.): 0-0 (UFC)

Polyana is an up and comer in the women’s flyweight division. However, all of Poly’s fights With the promotion thus far have been at strawweight. Now 28 years old, Polyana is having an increasingly tough time making the strawweight weight limit and competing in a high quality fist fight the very next day. Poly has decided to move up at UFC Uruguay and put her 5’7″, 67″ reach frame to good use in the highly active women’s flyweight division. With the added weight, the Brazilian could look to gain a grappling advantage as her one win in the UFC is by rear naked choke and the majority of her finish wins are by submission.