The entertainment business is often built on superstars. The fight business is no exception. The UFC has multiple superstars on its roster and the biggest ones are their dominant champions. One of those dominant champions is Valentina Bullet Shevchenko. This weekend, Valentina Shevchenko defends her belt against Katlyn Chookagian. It is fair to say that Valentina goes in as the favourite in this contest. Many fans expect her to continue to hold the 125 lb. belt for a significant period of time.
We take a quick look at a few notable performances and personality traits that have afforded her this coveted status.
Title victory at 125 lbs.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko have a history. Prior to competing in MMA, the two faced off against each other in Muay Thai bouts. Three times. All three times saw Bullet take home the victory. When it was her time to compete for the flyweight champion, Bullet Shevchenko was initially scheduled to face then champion Nicco Montana. Unfortunately, that bout fell through due to Montana being hospitalised. The UFC proceeded to strip Nicco Montana. They then scheduled a bout between Valentina and Joanna. At the time, Joanna, the once dominant straw weight queen, suffered back to back defeats to Rose Namajunas and eked out a somewhat controversial victory over Tecia Torres.
The bout had plenty of clinch work. In the end, Valentina prevailed once again earning her fourth victory over one of the most fearsome female fighters that the UFC has produced.
Headkick over Jessica Eye
Jessica Eye was the underdog against Bullet Shevchenko. Eye was aware of this. And she embraced the role. During the open workout, Eye led the crowd in chanting a tailored underdog cheer. Valentina dominated the fight. Notably, Shevchenko landed several kicks to Eye’s body. In the second round, Valentina landed a head kick. Eye’s defences were down protecting her body. This was likely a result of the repetitive bodykicks. As the headkick connected, Eye crumpled and fell down to the mat.
The following moments were tense. Eye was motionless. Medical professionals attended to her. Eventually, Eye came around and the tension was released. Then we saw a lighter side of Bullet Shevchenko. The Kyrgystani native started dancing. As she spun around one a single leg, the tension in the arena eased.
Wars with Nunes
One of the highlights of Valentina’s career thus far has been her rivalry with Amanda Nunes. Widely considered the greatest woman mixed martial artist, Nunes has had two fights with Valentina both of which went to decision. The judges ruled in favour of Nunes on both those occasions. However, the second fight was especially close and remains a topic of controversy among fans till date. We may see a rubber match between the two, should both fighters continue their winning ways.
Shevchenko’s talents extend beyond the octagon. She is a polyglot. She’s a gun-aficianado at one point jesting with Henry Cejudo about the dangers of coming after her flyweight title. She’s an adventure sports enthusiast. She speaks multiple languages. She dances with grace.
On a lighter note, Bullet Shevchenko’s talents have caused some people, including Ben Askren, to “consider” that she may be a Russian asset.
From what we’ve seen Bullet Shevchenko has the skills inside the octagon and the personality outside of it to become a bigger and bigger superstar as the popularity of the sport skyrockets.