Antonina Shevchenko highly motivated for UFC Fight Night
MANILA, Philippines – In one of the undercards for the blockbuster UFC Fight Night featuring Thiago Santos versus Johnny Walker on October 3, there is a match that has huge implications.
It is the women’s flyweight match between Antonina Shevchenko (9-3-0) and Casey O’Neill (7-0-0).
Philstar.com spoke to Shevchenko with this huge fight looming.
“Training camp was good even if we were not able to have a full training camp because we had only six weeks to prepare,” smiled the Kyrgyzstan native, who is the older sister of current UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. “I am always training so I am not out of shape. When I accepted this fight, I was training with my sister since we prepared together (Valentina defeated Lauren Murphy last September 25 with a fourth round technical knockout to defend her title). It is great.”
Antonina’s match-up with O’Neill is interesting for two things — first, they both are somewhat familiar with each other having both trained together at the famed boxing gym, Tiger Muay Thai, in Chaloong Mueang Phuket, Thailand; and second, the outcome has huge implications for both fighters.
When the older Shevchenko entered the UFC in 2018, she had a 5-0-0 record. Since that time, she has gone 4-3-0 with her last six matches alternating in a win then following it up with a loss.
The losses have sidetracked her career. A win versus O’Neill will put her once more in the conversation as a woman fighter to be reckoned with. However, at 36 years of age, her MMA career is winding down.
O’Neill, on the other hand, sees the bout with Shevchenko as a step up. Said the Australian national, “She (Antonina) really has a big name. She looks like the perfect next step (to challenging Valentina).”
“We met at Tiger Muay Thai,” recounted Antonina, “We didn’t stay together but we saw each other and had a few training sessions together. I don’t know her very well as a fighter. She is a new opponent for me. She had two fights this year with two submissions. She is strong and motivated. She is somebody you need to pay attention to. She will try to take me to the ground so I have to watch out for that.”
O’Neill has been brutal to her opponents in her streak winning via either rear naked choke or ground and pound.
“I have to continue to develop myself as a MMA fighter. I have to work on my wrestling and striking. What I can do is keep training and growing as a fighter.”
“What is motivating me is there is someone who is a young fighter who is trying to beat me,” summed up Shevchenko.
Starting with UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Walker on October 3, Tap Go and Premier Sports will show all 42 live UFC events, including 12 numbered pay-per-view events and 30 UFC Fight Night events. Additional content will include UFC Countdown, UFC Connected, a variety of archive content, and the highly anticipated Dana White's Contender Series Asia when it premieres.
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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com