A quick glance at her record shows that Antonina Shevchenko is only one fight into her UFC career along with a win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series that helped her earn that contract.
Now there’s no denying that Shevchenko is a top prospect at 125 pounds while training alongside her sister Valentina, who is the reigning UFC women’s flyweight champion.
That being said, Shevchenko will take a massive jump forward in competition for her upcoming fight on Saturday where she faces former title contender and No. 8 ranked flyweight Roxanne Modafferi at the UFC Fight Night event in Russia.
While there’s always something to be said about ‘too much, too soon’ when it comes to the UFC pushing a prospect up the rankings before they are truly ready, Shevchenko didn’t blink when she was offered this opportunity.
“We just accepted the fight straight away. The call was if Antonina would fight in Russia on April 20 against Roxanne Modaferri and we just said yes,” Shevchenko told MMAWeekly.
“There was no hesitation. I think I’m on this level and that’s why we accepted the fight.”
As of now, Shevchenko only has seven fights on her record and while she is undefeated, her mixed martial arts career took a hiatus after she picked up her first three wins as she turned her attention towards her kickboxing career.
On paper, Shevchenko is facing a huge experience disadvantage going against Modafferi, who has been fighting the best in the world since turning pro back in 2003.
None of that phases Shevchenko, who believes she will prove that she’s on Modafferi’s level once they meet in the Octagon this weekend.
“Roxanne is an opponent that I want,” Shevchenko explained. “It’s a good matchup because she’s No. 8 in rankings. She is a very experienced fighter, she has more than 30 MMA fights but I think it will be a good fight for both of us. My goal is to climb to the top of the division so that’s why I want fighters who are ranked higher in the division.”
When examining the fight, Shevchenko knows that Modafferi is a very seasoned fighter with a well-rounded skillset that has earned her wins on the feet and on the ground.
That might be the aspect that she enjoys most about this fight because Shevchenko is eager to show that she’s more than just a striker and Modafferi might afford her the opportunity to prove it.
“In an MMA fight, you have to be prepared everywhere because at some point you will be on the ground or you will be striking so you have to be prepared everywhere. If the fight goes to the ground, I will show all of my skills on the ground also,” Shevchenko said.
“I’m prepared for this fight. I think we are ready for this fight and we will be ready to get this victory.”
A win would undoubtedly put Shevchenko into the top 10 rankings where her sister is the reigning champion.
While they have both said in the past that there is no chance they would ever actually fight each other, Shevchenko still has a goal in mind to climb to the top of the division where she would occupy a spot in the rankings right behind Valentina.
If anything, the Shevchenko sisters believe this is a good problem to have with two of the best flyweight fighters in the world coming from the same family.
“That is my goal. That’s why we accepted this fight. That’s what I want. I want to climb to the top of the division because I’m sure I’m able to do it,” Shevchenko stated.
“I think it’s good things for us. Now we are here. I’m not in the top five right now. For now, we’ll just keep working for this and when it happens, it will be perfect and we’ll be very happy and very excited. I’m sure our mom will be very proud of us. For now, we have to work to make it happen.”