1. From Russia With Love
The fighter, real name, Valentina Anatolievna Shevchenko, was born March 7 1988 in Frunze, Kyrgyzstan, which was then part of the now-disbanded, USSR. The 28-year-old became interested in fighting at the tender age of 5, when she started studying taekwondo. She enjoyed her first K.O. at the age of 12, obliterating her 22-year-old opponent, and earning the nickname, “Bullet” because of her amazing speed in the ring. She went on to start learning Muay Thai kickboxing and then Vale Tudo.
2. Fighting runs in the family
Both Valentina’s mom, Elena, and big sister, Antonina, are well-respected fighters. Valentina and her sis are super close, and they’ve trained together since they were little kids. To this day, Valentina always credits her older sibling at the end of each of her fights.
3. She can fight the fight AND talk the talk
Valentina is fluent in Spanish in addition to her native tongue of Russian. She learned Spanish after moving to Peru with her sister in 2008 — the two still live there. One language she doesn’t speak however, is Ukrainian. Shevchenko is one of the most famous Ukrainian last names, but her family was forced to flee the-then USSR state during Stalin’s Communist rule. Ukraine is now an independent country in its own right.
4. She’s pretty awesome in the kickboxing and muay thai rings too
In addition to her hugely successful UFC record, Valentina has a bunch of kickboxing and muay thai titles under her belt. She’s previously won the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur World Championship, the World Muay Thai Council — and is widely regarded as one of the world’s best Muay Thai fighters.
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5. Oh, and she’s tough outside the ring too!
Valentina survived a violent shootout back in May 2016. The athlete was sitting having dinner in Peru with her coach, Pavel Fedotov, when armed robbers stormed the restaurant and started firing. The assailants made off with $1,486 in cash in addition to valuables from the terrified customers — attacking anyone who resisted, before firing into the crowd. One woman was injured, along with Pavel, but not before he got a few shots of his own in against the robbers.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think about Valentina’s surprise win? Let us know in comments below!