Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra has declared tomorrow Monday 10th December a national holiday named â€˜Shevchenko Day' following Valentina Shevchenko's victory at UFC 231 over Poland's Joanna Jedrzejczyk on Saturday in the Flyweight Division in Toronto, Canada to capture her first UFC title and the first for a Peruvian fighter.
Shevchenko, who originally hails from Kyrgyzstan, had previously fought for the UFC title at Bantamweight last year against Amanda Nunes but came up short when the Brazilian narrowly won a split decision victory. But the creation of the new Flyweight Division gave the former Muay Thai World Champion new hope that she can finally win a UFC title in her preferred weight class.
She was initially carded to face Nicco Montana for the title in September but the American, who captured the belt on The Ultimate Fighter was stripped of it for failing to defend it within the specific time frame. And after the negative feedback a potential matchup with Sijara Eubanks received, the Polish fighter stepped up in weight class to face the woman who had previously beaten her three times at Muay Thai.
Not wanting to waste another opportunity to capture her first UFC title, Shevchenko immediately used her superior strength and grappling ability to take the fight to the ground in a similar fashion like she did against Priscilla Cachoeira at UFC Belem back in February. And although she couldn't finish Jedrzejczyk the way she did the hapless Brazilian, in the end her ten takedowns and more significant strikes in the fight proved to be the difference as Shevchenko finally claimed the elusive belt that had long eluded her.
Speaking at a press conference at the House of Pizarro today, Vizcarra had this to say:
"Today I am elated to speak to all of Peru because something wonderful happened last night that brought joy to my heart and filled me with pride as a national of this country."
"As you know, last night the whole of Peru watched on in anticipation and excitement as our very own Valentina Shevchenko created history in Toronto, Canada by becoming the first UFC Champion from this country when she defeated her Polish opponent whose last name I am at pains to pronounce. All I can remember is that her first name is Joanna. It was a performance that we will never forget."
He went on:
"After some near misses at trying to win the title in the Bantamweight Division, Valentina has finally found an appropriate weight class where she can stake her claim and potentially dominate for a long time. I know some of you out there are probably saying that Valentina doesn't look like your typical Peruvian and that she looks more European. Well, the fact of the matter is that both she and her sister have chosen to represent us in MMA and we should be thankful for their talents. If it weren't for them Peru would have probably never had champions in the sport of mixed martial arts seeing that it is typically dominated by Brazilians and to a lesser extent Americans. So here it is we have produced two champions in MMA in the space of nine days. Credit must also be given to Valentina's sister Antonina for winning The Ultimate Fighter last weekend. But Valentina's domination of her Polish opponent last night was a joy to behold. Even though she didn't get the knockout or submission, her counterattacking style was used with great effect and her ground game was really on. It was clearly evident who the stronger and more aggressive fighter was and that was what ultimately won her that long awaited UFC title."
"So, it is with great pleasure that I hereby declare tomorrow Monday 10th December 2018 a public holiday in commemoration of Valentina's UFC win. It shall be called â€˜Shevchenko Day'. Thank you Peru. But most of all, thank you Valentina for making our country famous."