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Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

The Shevchenko Sisters Dominate The World Of Combat Sports

Valentina and Antonina Shevchenko may very well be the most dangerous sisters on the planet. The Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian duo are both lifelong martial artists and compete in the UFC’s flyweight division, of which Valentina is currently the champion.

Antonina is newer to mixed martial arts than her younger sister, having just 10 professional fights and holding an 8-2 record. Valentina is an impressive 19-3, and has defended the UFC flyweight championship three times in dominant fashion. 

As impressive as the Shevchenko sisters’ UFC resumes are, the pair have an even more incredible combat sports resume outside of mixed martial arts that may transcend your expectations.

Born in modern day Kyrgyzstan, Valentina and Antonina Shevchenko began training combat sports early in their childhood. They took after their mother, Elena, a third Dan black belt of Taekwondo and president of the Federation of Muay Thai in Kyrgyzstan. 

Valentina and Antonina quickly became proficient kickboxers, blending their Muay Thai training with their Taekwondo. In 2000, Valentina made waves after knocking out her 22-year-old kickboxing opponent when she was just 12 years old. 

In 2003, the sisters each won their first gold medals at the IFMA Muay Thai World Championships: Antonina at 60 kilograms and Valentina at the 57 kilogram weight class. The pair would go on to win over 28 other Muay Thai and kickboxing world titles in their careers before focusing exclusively on MMA in the past few years.

Valentina had accrued an 11-1 MMA record dating all the way back to 2003 before making her UFC debut in 2015. Since then, she has won nearly every fight in the promotion, with the only blemishes being two razor close fights against Amanda Nunes, the consensus greatest female mixed martial artist of all time.

After her second loss to Nunes at bantamweight, Valentina moved down to flyweight for the first time since 2006. She went on to win her next five fights in dominant fashion, capturing the flyweight title in 2018 against Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Her commanding flyweight reign puts her in the top three best female fighters at the moment, according to most pundits.

Antonina, on the other hand, took a 12-year hiatus from MMA between 2005 and 2017. She appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018 for the chance to earn a UFC contract. Cornered by Valentina, Antonina won the fight via knockout in the second round and secured herself a spot on the UFC roster.

After the fight, Valentina was asked by reporters about her big sister’s performance.

“I’m sure our mom will be very proud,” said Valentina with a smile.

Photo CreditTwitter, Instagram, Instagram

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