UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko’s older sister, Antonina, competes alongside her this weekend on the UFC 255 preliminary card. Her opponent is none other than fellow striker Ariane Lipski.
This is a very compelling match up for one reason, they’re both elite kickboxers. Shevchenko, like her sister, is a multiple-time world champion in professional kickboxing, finishing her career off with a record of 39-1.
She also won a ton of titles as an amateur kickboxer, and she has perhaps the very best striker in the entirety of mixed martial arts to train with every day. Lipski also got her start in the stand up arts, starting up with Muay Thai as a child.
She went on to become the Brazilian National Muay Thai Champion, one of the same titles Edson Barboza and Marlon Moraes held, before switching over to mixed martial arts.
Lipski also boasts a black belt in the art, as well as a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She went on to replicate that success in MMA, but not without going through some adversity first.
She started out her MMA career with a record of 2-3, before going on a nine-fight win streak with seven finishes. This saw her capture the KSW Women’s Flyweight Championship, having defended it twice.
Lipski then came to the UFC with a record of 11-3, before losing back-to-back unanimous decision defeats to fellow 19-2 kickboxing champion Joanne Calderwood, and then former 17-0 amateur boxer Molly McCann.
However, the Polish talent from Brazil rebounded with back-to-back victories in her last two outings, defeating Isabela de Pádua via unanimous decision and Luana Carolina via submission (kneebar).
It’s quite rare seeing kneebars in MMA, we’re lucky to see a couple of them a year, but she pulled it off and was awarded the Performance of the Night bonus considering.
This improved her record to 13-5 with six knockouts and three submission victories to her credit. Shevchenko has also been quite successful in MMA, making it to a perfect 5-0 before trying her hand on the Contender Series.
She won her first fight via TKO (punches), then her next four via unanimous decision before coming onto the show. She defeated Jaymee Nievara via TKO (knees) on Dana White’s show and was given the chance to sign with and compete in the UFC.
Shevchenko defeated Ji Yeon Kim in her promotional debut via unanimous decision, before losing her next fight to women’s MMA legend Roxanne Modafferi via split decision.
She rebounded from this with a submission (rear naked choke) victory over Lucie Pudilova, before losing her next fight to the woman her sister most recently fought and defeated, Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision. She just couldn’t keep their fight on the feet and it cost her.
This brought Shevchenko’s record to 8-2 with two knockouts and one submission.
Interestingly enough, all three of Shevchenko’s finishes came in round two, and all but two of Lipski’s nine finishes came in round one, the others both coming in round two.
It may be safe to say Lipski has the advantage on the mat, but it’ll be very interesting to see who has the advantage on the feet. They’re both so good at striking, and they’re both so experienced at it, it’s impossible to tell.
One tell could be their ages, Shevchenko is by far the more experienced talent, turning 36-years-old the day before the fight. That means she has to make weight on her birthday, as fun as that sounds. Lipski will be turning 27-years-old in January.
Does the experience of Shevchenko out-class the younger talent, or does Lipski’s youth aid her in defeating the 36-year-old Shevchenko?
With Shevchenko standing 5’8” with a 68” reach, and Lipski standing 5’6” with a 67” reach, we’ll have to wait and see who finds their target more often than the other. This should be a world class striking battle between these two elite combatants.
Who wins this women’s 125 lb fight of kickboxing champions?