Antonina Shevchenko has an opportunity to break free from her sister’s shadow this weekend at UFC St. Petersburg.
Way back at the main event of UFC on FOX 20 in 2016, Valentina Shevchenko broke through in the world of MMA by dominating former bantamweight champion Holly Holm across five rounds to earn a unanimous decision win. Thus creating her identity of an accomplished striker in the MMA world. Since then, Shevchenko has not looked back and with time has earned the crown of one of the best pound-for-pound female fighters in MMA. It is her hype that her sister and world champion kickboxer, Antonina Shevchenko is currently living under.
This weekend, when she locks horns with Roxanne Modafferi, she gets the chance to walk out of that shadow and establishes herself as a contender. Modafferi is an established name in the MMA world. She has fought for Strikeforce bantamweight title, UFC flyweight title and has been amongst the top flyweights for some time now. Her ground game is decorated and unlike any of Shevchenko’s past opponents, has a deep resume, which includes names like Andrea Lee and Tara LaRosa.
Antonina Shevchenko enters as a considerable favorite in the match given her deep kickboxing resume and past few performances. In her last fight, where her opponent Ji Yeon Kim was heavier than her by four pounds, she still managed to deliver a great performance.
However, Modafferi is a fighter in a different league altogether. She is tough and has good command over all her skills. So there is a high probability that Shevchenko might not get her hand raised. Racking up a win isn’t her sole concern. She has to prove it to MMA audience that she is more than Valentina’s sister. To do so, she needs to dominate the more experienced fighter. If she is able to do so is something that we will find out this weekend.
UFC St. Petersburg will be live on ESPN+ in the USA, TSN 5 in Canada on April 20, and SONY SIX in India on April 20.