The nickname “Happy Warrior” couldn’t describe UFC women’s flyweight Roxanne Modafferi any better. Seeing the positive side of each situation and applying her warrior mentality has propelled her to a successful MMA career, with over 30 professional fights.
On Saturday she will be facing the undefeated (7-0) Antonina Shevchenko, who largely in part to her Russian background will have a majority of the support in Saint Petersburg.
But that’s more than OK with Modafferi who has grown accustom to being the underdog.
“I tend to be the underdog a lot,” Modafferi said. “My striking is kind of awkward so I think people look at my striking style and kind of put me down but once I get to the ground it’s a whole different story.”
We caught up with Modafferi to talk about fighting in Russia, her match-up with Antonina and much more. Check-out what she had to say:
UFC: So you’re here in Russia. What’s that like for you to be fighting so far away from home?
Roxanne Modafferi: It’s an honor to be the first female fight in Russia. It’s an honor in general to be here all the way from America. It’s an honor to be in the UFC on a card and on the main card. Everything is awesome. It will be so awesome to fight in front of so many passionate Russian fans. I don’t notice anything once the fight starts, but walking out is always really cool.
UFC: Things didn’t go your way at UFC 230, what are somethings you took away from that experience?
RM: Losses are kind of rough. I just have to tell myself that I’ve been training really hard since that last fight and I always grow a lot between fights. Like technically I don’t think I made any large mistakes in that fight I just couldn’t pull off the victory. I just have to believe in myself in this fight and tell myself it’s a different fighter, different situation and the strengths are different. I’m going to get this one.
UFC: How did you approach your camp for this fight in preparation for Shevchenko’s style?
RM: I know that she clinches very well so I’ve been training of how to handle the muay thai clinch and also how to do takedowns on a southpaw.
UFC: How do you think the match-up will play out?
RM: I think it’s a great match-up. She’s a muay thai artist and I’m a grappler. But we can both do both. I think she will probably expect me to take it to the ground and I will try, but I could also fake take it to the ground and just try knocking her out. You never know right? I’m not expecting a takedown from her but she knows that I know that she knows that she’s not going to take me down. So I know that she knows that I know you never know.
UFC: What can the fans expect from the fight?
RM: A flashing fury of fists of movements and take downs and action. Oh and beautiful violence.
The UFC Saint Petersburg early prelims begin at 10:15am/7:15am ETPT on ESPN+ and the main card will air live on ESPN+ at 1pm/10:15am ETPT. Modafferi and Shevchenko will duke it out on the main card, make sure you tune in!
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews