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UFC St. Petersburg: Roxanne Modafferi admits ‘physical strength has been my weakness’ ahead of Antonina Shevchenko fight

Roxanne Modafferi feels her back is against the wall

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Roxanne Modafferi has fought back from losses before and UFC St. Petersburg offers another chance to do just that.

The mixed martial arts veteran of 37 fights — not including her two stints on The Ultimate Fighter — has competed professionally since 2003. Modafferi is coming off a decision loss to Sijara Eubanks at UFC 230 and has a chance to rectify that versus hot prospect Antonina Shevchenko on Saturday, April 20.

“I’m feeling pressure coming off a loss. I think a lot of fighters do, especially when they’re in the UFC. I just want to get the win and whatever happens after that I don’t care!” she exclaims in an interview with Bloody Elbow. “I just want to get the win.”

Modafferi will admit she is not the best pure athlete in the division and that was to her detriment in the Eubanks fight. “Yeah, that was a bummer. Sijara is very talented and very strong... I don’t feel like I made a lot of mistakes, I just couldn’t win,” she said. “Also the whole missed weight thing. Mentally, how do you handle that. You don’t want to make an excuse like, ‘oh she missed weight,’ but also, she missed weight. I’m glad she is moving up a weight class.”

“Physical strength has been my weakness throughout my whole career. I’m old school, we just went to the gym and did technique training. It was before mixed martial arts became a sport. Fighting [used to be] no holds barred. I only started doing professional strength and conditioning about three or four-years-ago,” she confesses. “I’m trying to catch up to all these young girls who started training everything.”

“I’m only starting to come into my athletic build, so to speak. I wouldn’t consider myself athletic. It sucks when I’m in the fight and I’m like, ‘I know what the technique is but I can’t physically do it.’ That sucks,” Modafferi expressed. “I’ve always been a big ‘technique over power’ kind of girl because I love judo and jiu-jitsu. I’d still like to believe that, but when skill is similar, strength pushes you over.”

A win over Eubanks would have put Modafferi, currently ranked number seven in the UFC’s official rankings, firmly in the title picture. An eventual match-up with UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is the ultimate goal, but Modafferi must first contend with the flyweight queen’s younger sister.

“I’m trying not to think about the future because that makes me anxious. Not anxious, it makes me feel a little nervous,” Modafferi confesses. “I try not to think about the future because it hasn’t happened yet. Things never happen as you imagine they do, whether they be positive or negative.” The task at hand is Antonina and Modafferi assures she plans to “test” the undefeated striker.

Watch the video above to learn how Modafferi started writing features for Bloody Elbow, why she once fell asleep during a Cirque du Soleil show, her comical back-and-forth with Shevchenko on Twitter and more. Modafferi fights Shevchenko at UFC St. Petersburg on Saturday, April 20. The event is headlined by heavyweight veteran Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik.

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