A Look at Valentina Shevchenko’s Career
Born in Frunze (Bishkek), Kyrgyzstan in 1988, Valentina Shevchenko is a professional mixed martial arts fighter. She competes in the Flyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Valentina became champion in her division at UFC 231, on September 20th, 2018, after defeating Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She defended her title in the co-main event at UFC 238 on June 8th, 2019, knocking out Jessica Eye with a head kick in the second round.
Valentina Shevchenko’s Early Career
Stemming from the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, she grew up in a highly competitive family. Her older sister, Antonina, is a taekwondo fighter, as well as their mother. Besides fighting, she earned a degree in Film Directing from the Arts University of Kyrgyzstan. After living with her family in the resort town of Sochi, Russia, she started to spend a lot of time training in Thailand, Korea, China, France, Italy, Greece, and the Netherlands.
After being mugged for her cellphone in Sochi, she felt compelled to live outside Russia. She became a Peruvian citizen after visiting the South American country. This trip, following her win at the World Cup of Muay Thai in 2007, turned into a life-changing event. She originally went to South America with trainer Pavel Fedotov to teach kickboxing classes, where she fell in love with Peru and decided to live there permanently. She currently resides in Webster, Texas, when she’s not in her Peruvian paradise.
Her career started in 2000. At the age of 12, she knocked out a 22-year-old opponent in a kickboxing fight. From 2003 to 2015, Valentina Shevchenko won more than 50 amateur/pro fights in K-1, Muay Thai and kickboxing. In mixed martial arts, she has earned a 17-3 record. Shevchenko fought her first UFC fight on December 19th, 2015 against Sarah Kaufman. She lost twice against Amanda Nunes (at UFC 196 and UFC 215), but finally won the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship at UFC 231 against Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
A Feared Opponent in the Octagon
Her fighting style is renowned for her precise counter-striking ability. Able to gauge the distance of an attack, she can strike back with a variety of counterattacks. After dodging a strike, she will retaliate with either a fast right hook, a spinning wheel kick or a spinning back fist. When she goes on the offensive, she regularly uses forward right hooks and two-punch combinations. At the end of a flurry, she also uses an outside leg kick. Shevchenko also trained in grappling and Judo. She has won by submission in the past (armbar submission of Julianna Peña and rear-naked choke submission of Priscilla Cachoeira).
Considered one of the best fighters in the world, Valentina Shevchenko is ranked (as of June 10th, 2019) #13 on the UFC pound-for-pound ranking list.
Read more about Valentina Shevchenko’s win at UFC 238.