Valentina Shevchenko is all set for another title defence at UFC 285. Shevchenko has spent the last ten months travelling the globe in order to challenge herself and pick the brains of top martial artists in other nations.
Shevchenko began her training in Kyrgyzstan, crossed Japan off her bucket list, and spent months there learning from champions of Japanese MMA organisations before moving back to her current residence in Las Vegas.
In this Saturday's UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Shevchenko will attempt to make her eighth successful championship defence against Alexa Grasso. With a victory, Shevchenko would exceed Jose Aldo's (7) record of UFC championship defences and fall one spot behind Georges St-Pierre (9).
After stepping up from strawweight in 2020, Grasso has a perfect 4-0 record at flyweight, with victories over Maycee Barber, Joanne Wood, and Viviane Araujo in her first UFC major event last October.
Grasso's mainstay is her boxing, albeit a well-rounded attack that has seen her finish opponents on the feet and on the mat. Shevchenko acknowledges Grasso's dexterity, but thinks the outcome of Saturday's co-main event will depend heavily on her extensive repertoire of martial arts moves.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in front of me. They have their own style, and their own history of how they became a martial artist. Alexa is a strong opponent, a strong fighter [and] complete fighter…I trained very hard for this fight. I did everything to prepare myself physically and mentally on the top level, and there is only one goal: to have success in my title defence and keep moving forward,” Shevchenko noted.
She also went on to remind her opponents that she is here to stay and that she will be here forever.
“New faces, new blood, new challenges; it’s exactly what I wanted and what the division needs. Here I am to show, no matter who you are, I’m still the champion and I will be here forever,” Shevchenko added in her interview with the UFC.
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