The first UFC on FOX card of 2017 is just days away. The main event features a women’s bantamweight #1 contender match between the division’s top two ranked fighters, Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena.
A win for Shevchenko (13-2) would give her the opportunity to avenge her UFC 196 loss where eventual bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes secured a unanimous decision win over “The Bullet”.
Valentina Shevchenko came into mixed martial arts with one of the most decorated fighting careers we have possibly ever seen. An 8x kickboxing world champion and 12x Muay Thai world champion with a career kickboxing record of 58-2-1, Valentina carries with her a pedigree that very few can hold a candle to. For comparison sake, UFC strawweight champion Joana Jedrzejczyk had a career kickboxing record of 27-2.
Shevchenko started her martial arts journey at the age of 5 in Tae Kwon Do under her mother and sister who were also practitioners. At 12 she turned her attention to Muay Thai and Vale Tudo. It was as at 12 years of age in Kyrgyzstan that her kickboxing career began when she knocked out a 22-year old opponent, earning the nickname “Bullet” for her speed in the ring.
Her mixed martial arts career began all the way back in 2003 where she built up a record of 7-0 while still continuing to compete in kickboxing and Muay Thai, before taking a break from MMA for a few years in 2006.
In 2010 she made her return to the cage against Liz Carmouche. While Shevchenko was ahead on the scorecards, a cut caused by an upkick from Carmouche was ruled too bad to continue and Shevchenko was handed the TKO loss, the first of her career.
Shevchenko made her UFC debut as a short-notice replacement for Germaine de Randamie against Sara Kaufman at UFC on FOX 17 in December of 2015 where she won via split decision.
With her UFC career barely a year old, Valentina is 2-1 in the octagon with her other win coming against former bantamweight champion Holy Holm, and her sole loss coming against current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, going the distance in both.
This will be the second time Shevchenko is seated in the main event of a UFC on FOX card. While the first match was more about Holly Holm, it was “The Bullet” that came away as the talk of the town.
Julianna Pena is on a 4-fight win streak and is every bit a fighter that Shevchenko should be worried about. She’s talented, motivated, and bigger. This fight has “Fight of the Night” written all over it and we can’t wait for it to get under way.