Mixed martial arts fighter Valentina Shevchenko is on a roll. The UFC women’s flyweight champion is on a five-fight winning streak heading into her fourth title defense this fall and will soon boost her profile with some scenes in a big-money Netflix film starring Halle Berry.
As an added benefit, she got to beat up her boss.
Valentina Shevchenko has dominated her UFC division
Valentina Shevchenko has risen through the UFC ranks to become a formidable champion in the octagon behind 125 pounds of muscle and fighting fury. Her record in 10 bouts with the UFC would be unblemished if not for a pair of losses by decision to bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes – the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the outfit.
Shevchenko is on a five-fight winning streak that began with the obliteration of Priscila Cachoeira in February 2018 to earn a title shot. When flyweight champion Nicco Montano was stripped of the title after being unable to fight at UFC 228, Shevchenko decisioned strawweight contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk in December 2018 to claim the belt.
Two of her three subsequent defenses have come against current No. 1 contender Katlyn Chookagan and No. 5 Jessica Eye, firmly entrenching her at the top of the division. However, Shevchenko had to bow out of UFC 251 in June 2020 because of a leg injury.
She is now booked against Jennifer Maia in UFC 255 on Nov. 21, 2020.
Valentina Shevchenko has been working with and for Halle Berry
Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry has taken the director’s chair for the first time and is also starring in Bruised, the story of a female MMA fighter who quits the sport and then attempts a comeback while also reuniting with the young son she walked out on.
In order to make the fight scenes believable, Berry immersed herself in MMA training. Much of the preparation came face-to-face with UFC flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, whom she also fights in scenes on the big screen. Those scenes came with a price for Berry, 54.
“She had to throw some real kicks, and I had to really take them, and that really broke some bones,” Berry told Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon earlier this year.
Berry praised Shevchenko, 32, for helping her make the scenes in the octagon so realistic.
“She’s a beast, but I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher, a better scene mate, a better fight partner,” Berry said.
Shevchenko confirmed to ESPN that Berry took a beating during filming.
“I started kind of very careful. She’s like, ‘Hmm, it’s not strong enough. Give me your power. Hit me harder.’ Every time until the end she was claiming she needs more power. More, more.”Valentina Shevchenko
Netflix has gobbled up the Halle Berry movie
An early cut of Bruised, Halle Berry’s first shot at directing, made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and apparently made an impression.
Deadline reported that Netflix is paying a sum approaching $20 million. It was described as a preemptive bid.
The release date is forthcoming. The website reported that Netflix declined comment.
If the report on Netflix’s move is true, that means that UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko stands to gain some widespread and long-term exposure to audiences outside mixed martial arts.