Valentina Shevchenko is one of the most dominant female champions in MMA history. With a record of 22-3 and 6 cfu Flyweight title defenses, Shevchenko’s credentials are worthy of a future UFC Hall of Famer. She is a multi-faceted combat athlete who also amassed a kickboxing record of 57-2 and a professional boxing record of 2-0. Considered one of the greatest female Muay Thai fighters in the world, Shevchenko has defeated four UFC champions in her career.
The last time we saw Valentina in the octagon was at UFC 266 when she overwhelmed Lauren Murphy en route to a TKO victory. She recently announced that she was ready for her next fight with Jessica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian touted as possible opponents. This list looks at 7 things people might not know about Valentina Shevchenko.
seven She really is a globetrotter
Born in Kyrgyzstan and now residing in Las Vegas, many speculate that Valentina Shevchenko could have emigrated to the United States for her MMA career. While it is true that she holds another nationality besides Kyrgyzstan, it would be surprising if she belongs to the distant South American nation of Peru. Shevchenko has been a Peruvian citizen since 2008 and has continued to participate in professional boxing bouts there. Peru isn’t the only other country Valentina has roots in.
His grandparents are of Russian descent and had moved to Kyrgyzstan when it was still part of the Soviet Union. By 2000, then 12-year-old Valentina’s kickboxing career was in full swing and she even spent time in Thailand learning Muay Thai and competing in tournaments. She would also compete in South Korea and China before deciding to take a trip to Latin America when she was just 19.
She and her sister Antonina reached Peru with their trainer Pavel Fedotov, and all three began teaching martial arts there. She loved the culture so much that Fedotov moved his base of operations to Peru. Just over a year later, Valentina was fluent in Spanish and had obtained her citizenship, highlighting her love for Peru.
6 She won a Peruvian dancing reality show
While professional athletes getting into reality shows is nothing new, Valentina Shevchenko took it a step further by choosing to take part in a dance reality show airing in Peru called Combat. What really stands out is that Valentina and her partner won it all. No wonder she pulled off a few moves in the Octagon during the post-fight victory celebrations.
She even showed off her wrestling skills on the show, taking on Peruvian professional boxer David Zegarra in an exhibition wrestling match. True to form, she beat the boxer via submission in under 60 seconds to earn bragging rights.
5 His gun tattoo
Many fans would have noticed the infamous gun tattoo on Valentina’s lower stomach. It’s a Glock with three extra rounds, and she got it to practice her passion for shooting. In fact, Valentina began training in firearms at the age of 18 and now regularly competes in pistol shooting competitions around the world.
Valentina considers shooting to be as important as martial arts and particularly likes the Glock pistol because it is easy to carry. She also feels that mastering guns gives him a sense of security. Quite natural for someone with the Twitter handle ‘ballevalentine‘.
4 The origin of his nickname
MMA fans will certainly remember Shevchenko’s UFC nickname – “The Bullet”, given how many times he was yelled at in the Octagon by Bruce Buffer. The nickname befits Shevchenko’s explosive speed and power in addition to his love of firearms, and it’s something bestowed upon him in the year 2000.
Back in Kyrgyzstan, 12-year-old Valentina was training at Vale Tudo and Muay Thai kickboxing under trainer Pavel Fedotov. In a local contest, Valentina faced an opponent ten years her senior and quickly eliminated the 22-year-old. Fedotov couldn’t believe his speed in the ring and gave him the name “Bullet” to emphasize his lightning quick reflexes.
3 His only non-UFC loss was controversial
Valentino Shevchenko has an impressive 22-3 record in MMA with two of his losses in high-profile matches against fellow fighter Amanda Nunes in the UFC. Her other loss came in her MMA debut in the United States, losing a controversial bout to future UFC title contender Liz Carmouche in the C3 Fights promotion.
Valentina overpowered her opponent, but an illegal upkick from Carmouche left her with a wide cut. It should have been a disqualification win for Valentina, but the foul went undetected and the ringside doctor ruled Valentina could not continue with the injury. This resulted in a TKO win for Carmouche via doctor stoppage. Valentina would avenge that loss 9 years later in the main event of a UFC Fight Night.
2 His cinematographic references
While in Kyrgyzstan, Valentina earned an undergraduate degree in filmmaking from the National Academy of Arts. While her cinematic aspirations took a back seat due to her MMA career, she played the main antagonist in the 2020 Netflix sports drama, Bruised with Halle Berry.
Shevchenko played Latin American fighter Lucia Chavez, an MMA champion who Berry’s downcast character gets a title fight against. The film’s attention caused Shevchenko to also grace the cover of Women’s Health magazine with Berry. The film also stirred up a bit of controversy, with former UFC fighter Cat Zingano filing a lawsuit against Berry over broken promises regarding a role in the film.
1 The Shevchenko sisters created a unique record in the UFC
Valentina Shevchenko has a number of UFC records – she holds the most consecutive wins in a title match in a particular division for an active UFC contender with six in the women’s flyweight division, the most wins, most consecutive wins and most knockout wins in this division’s history in addition to being No. 1 in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
However, at UFC 255, Valentina and her sister Antonina created a unique record – the Shevchenkos became the first sister duo to compete in the same UFC card. Valentina was in the co-main event and defeated Jennifer Maia by decision to retain her flyweight title. On the preliminary card, Antonina defeated Ariane Lipski by TKO to win the performance of the night award, setting the stage for a strong showing from the Shevchenko family.
The UFC is the most prestigious MMA organization in the world. However, some of the best fighters in the world have also won belts in other promotions.
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