Antonina Shevchenko has one thing on her mind for her fight against Ariane Lipski. It’s not a finish nor is it a Performance of the Night bonus. It’s simple really; she just wants to win.
“The only one statement I want to do is get this victory,” Shevchenko told UFC.com. “It’s really important to me. There is no statement or something. I am number 15 in the rankings, so I want to move up, and I just need this victory, so I have to get victory, victory, victory to move up. There is no other way or other statement.”
The single-minded focus is understandable on a few fronts. Shevchenko is coming off a lopsided loss to Katlyn Chookagian in May. While a loss to Chookagian, a mainstay at the top of the flyweight division, is nothing to hang one’s head about, it did drop Shevhcenko’s UFC record to 2-2.
Although the internal pressure is there, Shevchenko, a former Muay Thai world champion, does take the time to acknowledge her own growth as a mixed martial artist.
“As a mixed martial artist, I am growing up,” she said. “I wish to be growing up from fight to fight as my sister (Valentina Shevchenko) does because she is incredible.”
Speaking of the younger Shevchenko sister, Valentina and Antonina will fight on the same UFC card for the first time at UFC 255, and although both women have careers that can stand on their own, the elder Shevchenko sister has appreciated going through simultaneous training camps with the flyweight champion.
“It just was perfect,” she said. “I like to have the same training camp with my sister because the whole atmosphere is the same. Everybody is concentrated and focused on the fight. She’s on her fight. I’m on my fight. It’s the same atmosphere at home. Diet is a little bit different because Valentina almost doesn’t cut weight, so she could eat chocolate and everything. I couldn’t.”
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Although fighting on the same card isn’t a foreign space for the two, Antonina admitted she does get to feel emotional on the night once she handles her business against Lipski, whereas she knows Valentina won’t think about Antonina’s fight until after the fact.
In Lipski, Shevchenko expects an aggressive, confident fighter after the Brazilian secured her first finish in the UFC – a nasty kneebar against Luana Carolina in July.
“She’s a tough opponent. She’s aggressive. She likes to exchange and pressure her opponents. She just got her submission win last fight. I’m ready for this. I prepared. I had a tough training camp, and I hope this time to get this victory. That’s why I accepted the fight from her. I know my technique will be better than hers. Of course, it’s an MMA fight. Anything can happen. I’m confident in my technique and my strengths against this opponent.”
Both women carry .500 records in the Octagon thus far but have shown the potential to make noise in a wide-open flyweight division. Just a few impactful wins can catapult a contender up the rankings, where Valentina Shevchenko sits atop the throne, and Antonina Shevchenko believes everything is set up for her to make that leap starting on November 21.
“We are ready to go,” Shevchenko said. “I am ready to go. The most important thing in this fight for me is to get my victory this time.”