Interview with Russia's Julia Berezikova

Written by: Mark Richards

She has been on the scene of women's MMA for several years now, and she is the most skilled and most recognizable women's fighter in all of Russia.  We had the good fortune to catch up with Julia Bewrezikova.  Read on...

MR:  Go ahead and tell us about yourself, Julia...

JB:  My name is Julia Berezikova, and I'm from St Petersburg, Russia.  I have been training in MMA for a little over 4 years and my international record in MMA is 2-3.  My background is in boxing and physical fitness before entering MMA.

MR:  Talk about your history and your record in MMA...

JB:  I have been learning by competing!  In Russia there are not a lot of places to fight especially for women, so aside from one fight against a Korean girl, I have fought against the top women fighters in the world from the very beginning.

MR:  Your debut was in December of 2006 against Tara Larosa...

JB:  Yes that is what I mean.  Many people feel Tara is the best woman fighter in the world, and I was a rookie stepping in to fight her.  I learned a lot and I survived until the second round.

MR:  Your last match was in Russia against Megumi Yabushita - tell us about that...

JB:  She is the most experienced woman fighter in the world, and her Judo was unbelievable.  I was able to win a decision, and I think that was fair, but it was a close fight.  I was able to outstrike her, but I could not defend her throws.  I defended a submssion or two and tried a few of my own, so I think I was able to show the progress I have made.  I was a bit dissappointed that I could not finish the fight, but again I learned a lot and I had the pleasure of competing against one of the top fighters in the world.

MR:  You are still with FIGHTFORCE?

JB:  They have announced a full calendar of events for 2009 and I look forward to competing for them again.  They also have been talking about marketing and things for me, so I'm hoping those ideas work out as well.

MR:  What do you mean by marketing?

JB:  Things are only being talked about and there is nothing that is certain.  Let's just say I'm not the typical girl next door, but I am a woman who has interests beyond fighting.  If they want to market edgy clothes or something like this I am willing to work on this as well as fighting.

MR:  So you are competing for FIGHTFORCE next year?

JB:  Yes, they have an event in St Petersburg planned for February 28th and I have signed a contract to fight in that event.  I'm excited because I started my career at 135 lbs and this match is at an agreed weight of 55 kilos which is 121 lbs.  I think this suits me very well and I will be very ready.

MR:  Who is the opponent and what do you know about her?

JB:  My opponent just signed her contract so I feel safe to say!  Her name is Tevi Say and she is from France.  I really don't know much about her.

MR:  You must know something!

JB: (laughing) Well I know she also has 5 fights, so that she has about the same experience as me.  I started with my debut in 2006 and she has not fought since 2005, so she has been inactive for a while.

MR:  Is that to your advantage?

JB:  it could be, but I can't count on that.  She has a good record in Japan, and her only loss is to a top woman fighter in Laura D'Auguste.  To win in Japan as a foreigner several times, I think it takes focus and skill.  I have not seen her matches yet, but I cannot take her lightly at all.  I am thinking she will come to Russia very prepared and come to win, and she has a history of winning on the road so I am preparing to face a very difficult match.

MR:  Will you be watching her previous matches?

JB:  I will try to get the DVDs but I am not counting on them that much.  What they may reveal is probably limited, and I am counting on her to have evolved in the past few years.  The viewing of her matches may reveal some tendencies and give me an idea of how she moves, but I will not study them as if they will give me all the answers.

MR:  Are you looking to compete in other organizations?

JB:  Yes of course, for me in MMA the time is now and I hope that 2009 is a big year for me.  I'm committed to FIGHTFORCE but they have been great and encouraging and they will let me fight elsewhere if I get the right opportunity.  I was excited to hear that the WEC in America may be considering women's fights.  This would be very encouraging!

JB:  what do you think of Gina Carano?

MR:  I don't know much about her but I consider the work she has done and the appearances on television in the United States make her a pioneer.  I understand she is a much bigger weight class so we cannot compete against each other, but I extend her the utmost respect.

JB:  Any final words to the readers of ADCC NEWS?

MR:  Thanks for reading this, and of course I hope that everyone out there continues to support women's MMA.  And be on the lookout for FIGHTFORCE as we will be making a splash  in Russia in 2009.