Valentina Shevchenko almost certainly has a future in the UFC’s Hall of Fame. She might just have a future on the big screen, as well.
Shevchenko, the UFC’s dominant women’s flyweight champion, has wins in seven straight title fights and six consecutive defenses of her belt. The only two losses of her UFC career are decision setbacks to Amanda Nunes, the two-division champ considered by many to be the greatest women’s fighter of all time.
She’s also been remarkably consistent by logging two fights a year for seven straight years, including during the past nearly three years as champ. So for her to add a high-end film credit to her resume shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Shevchenko plays “Lady Killer” in the new MMA movie “Bruised,” out now on Netflix. The film is the directorial debut of Oscar winner Halle Berry and also stars Berry as Jackie Justice, a former UFC fighter who has fallen on hard times and takes an opportunity to climb her way back. The final act is a fight between Berry and Shevchenko’s characters at an Invicta FC event.
For Shevchenko, the good part about taking time away from her actual fight training to work on the film was that she wasn’t exactly lounging around by craft services all day on set.
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“It was an amazing experience,” Shevchenko told MMA Junkie. “Through the whole process, I had so much positive energy surrounding me. Working with Halle, with the whole team, it was one of my best experiences ever. And I really enjoyed the whole process.
“We were preparing for the filming two months ahead. We had training – hard training – for five hours every day before we actually started to film the fight scene. I would say it was my longest five rounds ever because it was not like five rounds, five minutes, total 25 (minutes). It was five rounds lasted for five days.”
Berry, who has been cageside for many UFC events through the years, grew up a boxing fan, and that turned into MMA fandom. But she took her personal training in different disciplines to the next level when she took on “Bruised.”
Getting Shevchenko and her striking skills involved in the movie was, Berry said, a “no-brainer.”
“What made me really have to have Valentina in this movie is, through my training, I realized that my ground game was much better than my standup game,” Berry said. “And she is, pound-for-pound, one of the best strikers the sport will ever experience. So I thought if my ground game is pretty good and I can really pull off a real grappler, and I can get the best standup striker in my weight class to do this movie with me, I think we can make a really dynamic fight.
“To be able to get the best in the world while they’re at the top of their game to come be in your movie, what would be better than that? And to train from her, learn from her – she brought so much credibility to the fight. She always let us know when we were doing it right, when we were doing it wrong. I knew that I would have someone standing next to me that would bring authenticity to this fight. That was really, really important to me.”
Berry, who has starred in her fair share of action movies, even said she made a pitch to “John Wick” director and producer Chad Stahelski for Shevchenko to get a role in future installments of the franchise.
Berry had a major role in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” in 2019, and though the franchise’s fourth film has been filming and doesn’t include Shevchenko, a fifth film already is in development.
“I already told Chad from ‘John Wick,’ I’m like, ‘You want another badass female to come in here? Man, you’ve got to get Valentina.’ I know for sure she has a career,” Berry said. “She’s such a natural. She has a huge career, whenever she wants it, in these movies. She absolutely does.”
Shevchenko said a return to the big screen is something she’d be down for, as well.
“I enjoyed it with all my heart, and I definitely want to do it in the future,” she said. “And definitely, I know Halle is going to have a lot of success as a director, and I am on her team, on her cast team, always and forever.”
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