• Andrew Starc

All about Valentina Shevchenko – guns, dancing & her UFC rise

Scrawl through Valentina Shevchenko's Instagram and you'll see the usual posts of a female Influencer.

Bikini pics. Outdoor adventures. Fun hangs with friends and family. More noticeable, however, are those showing the UFC's No. 2 female fighter posing with and shooting powerful firearms.

'The Bullet' is a bit of a gun nut, to say the least. So much so that she noticeably bears a tattoo of a Glock 19, her favorite firearm.

The meaning of Valentina Shevchenko's gun tattoo

In a 2019 interview, Shevchenko explained the genesis of her tattoo, and her love of shooting, which she was introduced to by her coach Pavel Fedotov, a former Commander in the Soviet Army.

"I've been involved in shooting sports a lot. It's one of my biggest passions. Now I feel it has the same part of my life as martial arts."

"I very love to shoot with Glock. It's very good gun because it can shoot everywhere. It's very easy to carry. It can survive in different condition of weather or whatever, and that's why I have tattoo on my body of a Glock 19."

So, her tattoo isn't a metaphor for anything. She just really loves the Glock 19.

Valentina Shevchenko assault rifle

In 2016, guns intruded into Shevchenko's life in less than a sporting manner. While getting a bite to eat at a chicken shack in Lima, Peru, she was forced to duck under a table as thugs attempted an armed robbery.

Her coach Pavel Fedotov fired at the robbers, killing one. He was hit in the abdomen for his efforts, but survived.

The incident took place about a month before Shevchenko was set to fight Holly Holm. The fight went ahead, with the Kyrgyz winning via unanimous decision.

Valentina Shevchenko's UFC record

When she's not shooting or potentially getting shot at, Shevchenko is reliably beating up almost every woman the UFC puts in front of her.

She made her UFC debut as a bantamweight (135 lbs/61.3 kg) in 2015, entering the promotion with an 11-1 record. She's since distinguished herself as perhaps the most technically-gifted female fighter.

A decision victory over former champ Holly Holm in 2016 put 'The Bullet' on an upward trajectory, culminating in her winning the flyweight (125 lbs/56.7 kg) title in 2018 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

In her next fight, she served up one for the highlight reel – perhaps the most vicious head-kick in UFC history, against the clearly unmatched Jessica Eye.

Shevchenko has since defended her belt three times, each win more impressive than the last. With a 19-3 record, it seems the Kyrgyz is only getting better.

She's only lost twice in the UFC, both times to the consensus female GOAT, Amanda Nunes.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Amanda Nunes

Shevchenko first fought Nunes as a bantamweight at UFC 196 in 2016. It was only her second fight in the UFC, and just prior to Nunes becoming the household name she is today.

The bout was competitive, but the Kyrgyz lost by unanimous decision after making a slow start in the first two rounds, before rallying in the third.

Watch full video of Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko 1 below:

The Nunes vs Shevchenko rematch took place at UFC 215 in 2017.

The Kyrgyz faired much better than she did in the first bout. It was a very close back-and-forth fight, with Shevchenko losing this time by split-decision. MMA media, however, saw it slightly differently. Out of 22 media outlets, 10 gave Nunes victory, 10 gave it to Shevchenko, and two scored the bout a draw.

In the post-fight press conference, Valentina contested the decision.

"I respect the decision of the judges, but I don't agree with the decision at all. I think I won three rounds."

I think the first round was pretty close. Second, third and fourth was mine. And fifth, all of the round was mine, it was just one takedown [from Nunes]. This takedown it was only control position and I was landing more punches from the ground."

See what you think. Watch full video of Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko 2 below:

Valentina Shevchenko's kickboxing record

At the same time Shevchenko was becoming the MMA star she is today, she was also amassing a decorated kickboxing record.

She had a flawless record as an amateur, winning all of her 34 fights, even defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk three times. She won 11 gold medals competing in Muay Thai during this time.

As a pro, she had a 23-2 record, losing her final fight in 2015. During this time she claimed 6 world titles across several promotions, mostly as a lightweight (60KG/132 lbs).

All this, while forging a career in MMA.

Where is Valentina Shevchenko from? Her start in fighting.

Shevchenko was born in Frunze, Kyrgyzstan, then part of the USSR, on 7 March 1988. She comes from a family of athletes.

She began training taekwondo at age five, following in the footsteps of her mother, who is a 3rd Dan black belt and president of the Kyrgyzstan Muay Thai Federation. Her older sister, Antonina Shevchenko, also competes in the UFC women's flyweight division.

When Valentina was 12, she began Muay Thai training. Legend has it that as a 12-year-old, Shevchenko knocked out a 22-year-old opponent in a kickboxing match. She went pro at age 15.

What's with the dance Valentina Shevchenko performs post-fight?

Shevchenko regularly performs the 'Lezginka' – a traditional dance from the Caucasus. It's the national dance of the Lezgins, but is common among many ethnic groups across the region, including those in Khabib Nurmagomedov's native Dagestan and Khamzat Chimaev's birthplace of Chechnya.

Why did Valentina Shevchenko live in Peru?

In an interview with Fox News Latino, Shevchenko explains how she ended up moving to Peru in 2008, with her sister Antonina. She lived there for eight years.

“When we would travel, fighting all over the world, we visited Peru.”

"When my team saw that Peruvians were interested in learning Muay Thai, we started to teach classes and seminars. We decided to stay and live in Peru. It's a beautiful country because it has wonderful scenery, ocean, nature and everything that is great for training.”

She now lives in Las Vegas, and spends much of her pre-fight camps at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand.

What nationality is Valentina Shevchenko?

Shevchenko is a citizen of Kyrgyzstan and of her adopted former home of Peru. She was born into a Ukrainian family, and lived in Russia for some of her childhood.

Despite no longer living in Peru, she is still billed as fighting out of the country's capital Lima. She also carries the Peruvian flag into the octagon, along with that of Kyrgyzstan.

What languages does Valentina Shevchenko speak?

Valentina is fluent in Russian, Spanish, and English. She regularly speaks all three during her post-fight interviews.

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