UFC Vegas’ Katlyn Chookagian: Revenge Will Only Come in Beating Valentina Shevchenko, Not Her Sister

Coming off a title challenge against Valentina Shevchenko, Katlyn Chookagian found herself in an interesting spot.  Still ranked second in the flyweight division — but set as an underdog in her return fight against Antonina Shevchenko at UFC Vegas on Saturday.

Underdog?  Off a title fight, against an opponent who was just 2-1 inside the octagon to start the night?

Of course, Antonina is the elder sister of flyweight champ Valentina.  But a far less decorated fighter in MMA.  For Chookagian (14-3), who put on the most dominant performance of her career, leading to a unanimous decision win on Saturday, it was something of a shock.

Chookagian gave her thoughts on the odds speaking to Cageside Press in a virtual media scrum following the bout.

“When I first saw the odds, I looked at my husband like ‘did you see these odds?’  Because I know he sees them but doesn’t say anything,” Chookagian recalled.  “And he’s like, ‘I think the oddsmakers just got into it.’  He’s like, ‘they’re just confused with like, the last name and the last fight and stuff.’  And I was like, ‘this is crazy.'”  Chookagian was convinced that the odds would change by the time the fight came around.  “And it didn’t.”

“I don’t understand,” she admitted.  “I just assumed that the oddsmakers were uneducated on women’s MMA and just maybe got used.”

In the build-up to the fight, a lot was made of the family tie between the sisters, and Chookagian fighting them back-to-back.  “I think they forgot that they’re different people.  They don’t really have the same style at all,” Chookagian said of those who focused on the name more than anything else.  “And You know, Antonina’s, her older sister.  Not a lot of people have heard of her.  I mean, she is her sister but it doesn’t matter.  That didn’t affect me at all, and they’re two totally separate fighters and they don’t really even do a lot of the same things.”

Nor was it any sort of revenge.  Revenge will only come against the champ, Chookagian noted.  “It didn’t matter. If anything, it was a little annoying.  Everyone’s like, ‘it’s just gonna be revenge for [the loss] against Valentina.  No, revenge is going to be beating her, not her sister who is 2-1 in the UFC.”

Valentina Shevchenko currently has a fight scheduled with Joanne Calderwood for later this year.  In the meantime, Chookagian is just looking to stay busy.

“I’m 31, so I just don’t want to waste my time here, I want to get as many fights as I can,” she told us.  “I’m not injured.  I train all the time and I’m ready to go.  I was lucky that I fought for the title about three months ago and I got to fight again, and that’s what I love.  I’m always ready and improving so I just don’t want long layover.  I just want to be able to fight as as much as possible and I don’t care who it is.  I don’t care if they’re ranked above me, below me, coming off a win, a loss, whatever.  Just give me anyone.”