It seems like a lifetime has passed since the UFC started promoting women’s mixed martial arts but in reality it’s only been just over six years since Ronda Rousey became the catalyst that changed Dana White’s mind.
The UFC president had long been against women fighting inside the Octagon but he changed his opinion after watching Rousey compete.
Now in 2019, women’s mixed martial arts produces a huge segment of fights seen in the UFC every year with the expansion to four divisions last year.
This weekend the first ever UFC women’s fight will take place in Russia when Antonina Shevchenko takes on Roxanne Modafferi on the main card from Saint Petersburg. This holds particular significance because Russia has only recently started promoting women’s fights in the country.
Just a few weeks ago, Russia opted to include women for the first time in the national MMA championships and last year Fight Nights Global promoted the first ever women’s title fight in the country.
Now Shevchenko and Modafferi will battle it out on the biggest stage in MMA when they meet in the UFC this weekend.
“I’m very excited to fight in Russia, especially because our fight will be first UFC women’s fight in Russia,” Shevchenko said ahead of her fight.
Shevchenko, who hails from nearby Kyrgyzstan, says that she will have a lot of friends and family in the audience to watch her perform on Saturday.
The honor of competing in the first ever women’s fight in the UFC in Russia also ratchets up the attention her upcoming clash will receive, which is why Shevchenko is so motivated to put on a good show and make a great first impression.
“That’s why it’s so important for me to show a good fight, show good technique and show good skills and get the victory of course,” Shevchenko said about being the first UFC women’s fight in Russia.
“Many people, our friends, our family will be coming to Saint Petersburg to support me. Many people from my home country of Kyrgyzstan will be there for the fight. It’s very huge, it’s a very important fight and I’m excited. That’s why I’m focused, I’m training hard and we’ll do the same in all my fights to get the victory and to move forward.”