UFC Legacies: Valentina Shevchenko

Nicknamed ‘Bullet’, Valentina Shevchenko has been making a name for herself in the world of UFC and mixed martial arts. Not just for her skills, but also for her personality in and out of the match.

Her precision counter striking has made her a master at gauging distance and quickly retaliating. This speed is where she got her nickname from.

When it comes to UFC lines, it’s good to know who is at the top of their game and is a safe bet. Valentina Shevchenko is one of these people.

Early Life

Born in 1988 in what is now-modern day Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Shevchenko comes from a family of athletes. Her mother Elena Shevchenko is the president of Kyrgyzstan’s Muay Thai association and is a former Muay Thai champion. While her father Anatoly Shevchenko served in the Soviet Navy during the Cold War and played for the Kyrgyz national football team.

These strong influences led Shevchenko and older sister Antonina down a path of martial arts. Shevchenko started Taekwondo at the age of 5 and then started Muay Thai at 12. Her Kickboxing career also started around the time she started Muay Thai when she was able to knock out a 22 year old.

She ended up moving to Peru with her trainer and older sister in 2007. Her sister Antonia Shevchenko ended up debuting in the UFC in 2018. Shevchenko and her sister made history as the first pair of sisters to feature on the same UFC fight card in 2020.

This traveling has allowed Shevchenko to be fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian. In total, she has represented Russia, Peru, and Kyrgyzstan in different competitions.

Beginning Of Professional Career

In 2008, Shevchenko achieved her first loss in Kickboxing to Debby Urkens, and then her second and last loss in 2015 to Cong Wang. During her amateur and pro matches in K-1 Shevchenko won more than 90 matches in total.

After that, she made her UFC debut as a short-notice replacement for Germaine De Randamie. Randamie was supposed to fight against Sarah Kaufman but had to pull out because of an injury. Shevchenko ended up winning her fight against Kaufman via split decision.

In her second fight, she went against Amanda Nunes and lost by unanimous decision after putting up a strong fight. 

For her third fight in the UFC, she went against the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion at the time Holly Holm, and won. 

Before her 2nd fight against Nunes, Shevchenko went against Julianna Peña in a possible title eliminator match in 2017. Not only did she win this match, but she earned her first Performance of the Night bonus.

She was scheduled to fight against Nunes on July 8th, 2017 but it was postponed until September 9th, 2017 because Nunes was sick. Shevchenko lost this match via a split decision.

Professional Career And Championships

In 2018, Shevchenko won the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship against Joanna Jędrzejczyk, who she had defeated 3 times previously in various Muay Thai and Kickboxing competitions. As of 2022, she has defended this title 7 times.

One year after her Championship victory, Shevchenko was awarded the Dank Order by the then Kyrgyz president Sooronbay Jeenbekov for her achievements.

After defending her Flyweight title for the third time against Katlyn Cookagian, Shevchenko had to cancel her next fight against Joanne Calderwood due to a leg injury. A few months after this cancellation she premiered in her first movie in ‘Bruised’ playing the main rival to the lead character played by Halle Berry. This sports movie debuted on Netflix a year later.

In 2021, Shevchenko was named the Female Fighter of the Year by CombatPress.com, Cageside Press, BT Sports, and Daily Mirror.

On August 1st, 2021, Shevchenko was ranked 2nd in the UFC women’s pound for pound rankings just behind Amanda Nunes.

Records

As of 2022, Shevchenko’s current mixed martial arts record is 23 wins to 3 losses, she has never ended a fight with a tie. Only one of these losses was by knockout and the other 2 were via split decision.

Her only knockout defeat was by Liz Carmouche in 2010, this defeat was because of a controversial doctor stoppage after an illegal upkick. If the referee called a foul with the illegal kick then Shevchenko would’ve won via disqualification. However, the fight was waved off by the doctor and was called a TKO win.

Shevchenko is the first person to successfully defend the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship and has the most consecutive wins in the UFC Women’s Flyweight division with 9.

Conclusion 

On top of her UFC achievements, Shevchenko has won 8 gold medals at the IFMA World Muaythai Championships, and 2 gold medals at the World Combat Games.

Shevchenko is also a 2nd dan black belt in Taekwondo and a black belt in Judo. She is a Master of Sports in Taekwondo, Judo, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Kickboxing.

Considered one of the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world, Valentina Shevchenko uses her knowledge of different martial arts to help stand out in the world of UFC. 

Severe MMA Staff