Valentina Shevchenko (aka “Bullet” so named due to her incredible ring speed), born March 7, 1988, is a Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian mixed martial artist and is the current UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion.
The 33 year-old is considered to be among the best female Muay Thai fighters in the world, and with 5 successive defences of her title, she’s earned her no.2 position in the UFC women’s pound-for-pound rankings just behind her rival, and female GOAT Amanda Nunes.
Shevchenko holds notable wins over Holly Holm, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Jéssica Andrade, Liz Carmouche and Julianna Peña. With such an impressive resumé, it begs the question where does Shevchenko rank in the ‘all-time’ of Women’s MMA?
Shevchenko’s MMA career was bolstered by her extensive background in Muay Thai and kickboxing with 8 gold medals in IFMA World Championships, and viewed as mentioned, as one of the best Muay Thai fighters in the world.
Shevchenko also won 5 world championships within kickboxing in a variety of tournaments; this elite striking skill gives her a distinct advantage over her opponents. All this aside, Shevchenko is no slouch in the grappling department either as evidenced by her 7 submission victories equalling her 7 stoppages via TKO/KO
Shevchenko’s MMA debut took place in 2003 and went on a 7-0 start until 2006 when she decided to take a break from MMA to focus on her kickboxing and Muay Thai career.
In 2010 Shevchenko returned to MMA; however, this was not a welcome return losing to a women’s MMA pioneer in Liz Carmouche, yet Shevchenko was able to put together a 4-fight win streak which earned her a UFC debut.
After winning her UFC debut, Shevchenko took on Amanda Nunes losing via unanimous decision, and after putting together two wins against Holly Holm and Julianna Peña, she rematched Nunes but this time for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship but again came up short against Nunes.
After this loss, Shevchenko dropped down to flyweight and, in her second fight at the weight, won the vacant UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship against Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Since winning the title in 2018, Shevchenko has defended her title 5 times, leaving the question, what and who’s next?
Meantime, Shevchenko is also turning her hands (and feet) to movies and will be featuring in “Bruised” starring Halle Berry, due to release soon on Netflix. She’ll be playing the role of a professional MMA fighter called ‘Lady Killer’, the main adversary to Berry’s character, ‘Jackie Justice’
So, now you have a brief background into the ‘Bullet’s’ high-velocity career, let’s take a look at Valentina Shevchenko’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Katlyn Chookagian – UFC 247 (Feb. 8, 2020)
After being undefeated in the UFC’s Flyweight division, Shevchenko looked to continue this trend in her third title defence against Katlyn Chookagian.
Round 1 was largely a feeling out process with nothing of huge significance happening until, with just over a minute left, Shevchenko lands a takedown and controls Chookagian for the rest of the round, as well as landing an elbow that cuts her open.
Round 2 is a dominant display of high-level striking, with Shevchenko finding her range and picking off Chookagian at a distance. With just under 2 minutes left, Shevchenko again secures a takedown, but Chookagian does well to limit the damage until the end of the round.
In round 3, at 30 seconds in, Chookagian throws a kick caught by Shevchenko which allows her to trip Chookagian, landing in side control. It doesn’t take long for her to transition into her signature crucifix position, and she begins to hammer down elbows and punches, causing the fight to be stopped at 1 minute, 3 seconds into the third round.
Another dominant defence of her title from Shevchenko gave the matchmakers a headache as to who’s next at 125lb? And they’ve yet to find the answer…
4. Vs. Jéssica Andrade – UFC 261 (April 24, 2021)
In her fifth title defence, Shevchenko took on the former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion and at the time, no.1 flyweight contender Jéssica Andrade.
At a minute and 10 seconds into round 1, Andrade launches a kick which is caught by Shevchenko which she uses to secure a takedown, but Andrade quickly scrambles and gets back to her feet.
At 2 minutes, 20 seconds in, Andrade presses Shevchenko up against the cage, but Shevchenko turns the tables and offsets Andrade’s balance, tripping her to the floor.
After getting a hook in, Shevchenko tries to secure a rear naked choke but is unable to get the finish.
In round 2, after a dominant first round, beating Andrade at her own game, Shevchenko again gets the trip just 20 seconds in.
At 2 minutes in, Andrade gets back to her feet and looks for her signature slam takedown, but Shevchenko is wise to the idea and nulls this attempt, spinning Andrade around, and getting her own takedown.
Shevchenko quickly transitions to the crucifix position and rains down elbows, causing the fight to be stopped at 3 minutes, 19 seconds of round 2.
This dominant victory left people wondering who could challenge Shevchenko at 125lb?
3. Vs. Priscila Cachoeira – UFC Fight Night 125 (Feb. 3, 2018)
After coming off a loss to champ, Amanda Nunes, Valentina decided to drop down and try her skills in the flyweight division against Priscila Cachoeira.
At 25 seconds into round 1, and a sharp straight left hurts Cachoeira as she stumbles back; Shevchenko follows up with blistering strikes and at 40 seconds in, scores a takedown.
From her full guard, Shevchenko lands slicing elbows that open up a leaking cut on the side of Cachoeira’s head, and this onslaught continues until the end of the round.
Round 2 commences, and 15 seconds in, an inside trip takes Cachoeira back down, whilst Shevchenko transitions into her favoured position of the crucifix and again tee’s off on Cachoeira.
With no defence, the fight looks as though it should’ve been stopped at 2 minutes, 30, but referee, Mario Yamasaki permits it to continue.
With just over a minute left, Valentina transitions to mount and fires down punches causing Cachoeira to turn to her back, whilst Valentina continues to pound away before mercifully opting to choke Cachoeira out – causing her to tap at 4 minutes, 25 seconds of round 2.
This fight did not come without its controversy as referee Mario Yamasaki was criticized for the very late stoppage after missing the first tap, with stats showing the one-sided beat down with a ratio of 230-3 strikes landed in favour of Shevchenko.
This dominant display at Shevchenko’s 125lb debut gave her a chance to go for the vacant UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship.
2. Vs. Julianna Peña – UFC on Fox 23 (Jan. 28, 2017)
This was a title eliminator for a shot at the Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes between the no.1 and no.2 contenders.
In round 1, Peña presses the action and clinches Shevchenko to the cage, landing some damaging knees to Shevchenko’s body, but at 1 minute, 20, Shevchenko catches a knee and turns in to Peña to get the takedown.
Peña quickly gets up, and once again, presses Shevchenko to the cage and yet again it’s reversed into a takedown. Shevchenko works effectively from full guard until, with just 20 seconds left, Peña latches on to an armbar but cannot find the finish.
In round 2, similar to the first round, Peña clinches Shevchenko up against the cage and urgently tries to throw her to the floor, but Shevchenko’s defence holds up.
Finally, 3 minutes in, Peña eventually gets her own takedown doing her best work whilst in Shevchenko’s full guard, however with 40 seconds left, Shevchenko cranks on an armbar and begins to extend it, getting the tap at 4 minutes, 29 seconds of round 2.
After a good round from Peña, Shevchenko did well to turn the tide, and this win gave Shevchenko a shot at UFC gold; however, Amanda Nunes prevented Shevchenko from tasting glory at 135lbs.
1. Vs. Jessica Eye – UFC 238 (June 8, 2019)
This was Shevchenko’s first defence of her UFC title against no.1 contender at the time, Jessica Eye, and she looked to make a mark on the division.
In round 1, Eye immediately tries to pressure forward, but Shevchenko makes her pay with stabbing left kicks to the body. At 40 seconds in, and an over-extended right hand from Eye allows Shevchenko to grab a body lock and trip her to the floor.
Shevchenko controls Eye from half-guard and is able to get in some solid work until, with just over a minute left in the round, Eye makes it back to her feet before immediately being taken back down. With just 10 seconds left, Shevchenko passes to crucifix position and looks to apply an Americana lock, but Eye is able to defend.
In round 2, at 20 seconds in, Shevchenko unleashes a hellish, left high kick, landing flush on the side of Eye’s head. This immediately separates her from consciousness, 26 seconds into round 2.
Shevchenko’s first defence came in style with an incredible, and much-talked about head kick K.O. that earned her a $50,000 ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.