UFC Newark: Antonina Shevchenko Feels She’s Twice As Strong With Sister Valentina’s Support

At UFC Newark, Antonnina Shevchenko had the full support of sister Valentina, despite the latter having a title fight at UFC Uruguay in a matter of days.

Newark, NJ — The UFC’s first sister-sister duo is in action this month. Antonina Shevchenko earned a technical submission win at UFC Newark on Saturday, choking out Lucie Pudilova in the second round of their Fight of the Night battle. Pudilova went out on her shield (albeit with little help from the ref), while Shevchenko improved her record to 8-1 as a pro.

Then, in just a week’s time, sister Valentina, the UFC’s women’s flyweight champion, will defend her title against Liz Carmouche at UFC Uruguay. Which makes Valentina’s support of Antonina — she was with her sister all week — all the more impressive.

“It’s big support to have Valentina with me in every fight that I have,” Antonina Shevchenko told reporters including Cageside Press following her fight at the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday. “Of course she’s focusing because she has title defense next week, and she’s focusing on her preparation. While I was doing my weight cut, or easy training before this fight, [Valentina and her coach] went to the gym and did sparring and everything else.”

“She supported me in all what I needed this week, and this is just great because I have very huge support from her, and I’m twice stronger when she’s with me,” the elder Shevchenko said.

Antonina will return the favor, of course, and planned on flying out to Uruguay the day after UFC Newark alongside her sister. A quick turnaround, after an impressive performance — her first finish in the UFC.

“I’m very glad to have an early finish, submission especially of course. Before the fight, actually the number one thought, there was like, we would do pretty impressive striking fight.” That turned out not to be the case. Pudilova, perhaps inspired by Roxanne Modafferi’s defeat of Shevchenko earlier this year, opted to grapple. “But I was ready for everything, for wrestling of course, and for submissions.”

“As soon as I saw the opportunity, because she was so hard focused on taking me down, she forgot about defense. So I took advantage of this and finished the fight,” Shevchenko said of how the finish came about.

The submission saw Pudilova go out, something that happened three times at UFC Newark. In Pudilova’s case, it seemed fairly clear she was out, but the ref wasn’t in position. For Shevchenko’s part, “I kind of didn’t feel [it] very well because she was on her belly, and I was on top of her. So we couldn’t see her face. I just heard the sounds from her, she sounded like she was struggling. Then I didn’t hear those sounds,” she recalled. “I couldn’t feel very well if she was holding me, or she was just laying. That’s why I just kept going, kept going. I think the referee didn’t see either, because he didn’t [get in] position. That’s why I kept going.”

For more with Antonina Shevchenko, watch the full UFC Newark post-fight press conference above!