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Interview: UFC Champion Valentina Shevchenko on Filming Bruised

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Editor Tyler Treese caught up with Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko ahead of the release of Bruised on Netflix.

Bruised is directed by and stars Academy Award winner Halle Berry as a retired mixed martial artist that is drawn back into the sport. Shevchenko plays an Invicta Fighting Championships flyweight champion nicknamed “Lady Killer” and gets to show off her fighting prowess in the sports drama that will stream on November 24, 2021.

Tyler Treese: Valentina, it’s such a pleasure to speak with you, and you’re great in this film. What we can see in this film is that Halle Berry does have a genuine respect for mixed martial arts. We’ve seen her do so much with the UFC in the past couple of years. Can you discuss just knowing how much Berry respects the spore and what that meant for you to get you onto this project?

Valentina Shevchenko: I feel it’s a great opportunity. It’s something big in my career as well, and definitely to see Halle Berry, the super movie star being involved in mixed martial arts, so deeply it’s kind of the full meaning of everything. It’s so much in that it means the martial arts is just like every day, every single day strike into the next levels.

The big fight scene in this is just incredible. We get five rounds of action and there’s a really fine line in films and making the combat look realistic and not actually hurting each other. How difficult was it, you know, uh, getting used to pulling your punches, but still making it look so realistic.

This was the longest five rounds I ever had. Usually, it’s like five rounds, five minutes, 25 minutes, that’s it. But that time we had like a full five days of five rounds fight. Yes, definitely it’s totally different work because first of all, me being a professional fighter, but at the same time playing in a movie, I want to hit her hard to look like it is hitting full power, but at the same time, give a lot of confidence to Halle that she can trust me. I never will hurt her, and this is what we were building leading to the filming process. During two months, we were training in New York, with Halle, for five hours every day, building this confidence to get together, to create the perfect moves, real fights for the movie.

We’ve seen some combat sports stars dabble in music and films in the past and it’s seen as a distraction, but you haven’t missed a beat. You completely dominated Lauren Murphy. You’re still the most dominant flyweight champion ever. How are you able to find that balance between doing outside endeavors like this, but also staying focused on your career?

It all depends how you can control your switch. For example, a good example, when you’re learning two different languages and you speak in one language, you kind of turn the mode of speaking English, then, for example, you speak Spanish, you turn a mode to speak Spanish. You’re not mixing it because it’s two different languages. And for me, it’s the same. It’s all about the switch. When I’m in the fight mode, preparing for my title fight, defending my title. I’m in the beast mode. I’m focusing only on the fight, no distraction, nothing, but when I’m resting and, for example, I have free time or I have time when we were preparing for the movie. It’s a different switch. It all depends how good you are at controlling the switches.

You’re so great in this film. Do you have the acting bug now? Are we going to see you in more features in the future?

I would love to it’s my hope, yes. I would love to play more. My dream movie, it will be Bond girl. Not a Bond girl, but actually a female version of Bond, James Bond. This is my dream film.

Great. Maybe we’ll get 007 Bullet. That’d be amazing

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