“She’s a beast, but I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher, a better scene mate, a better fight partner,” Berry said. “She just brought so much reality to it for me.”
In comments published Wednesday by ESPN, Shevchenko confirmed that Berry suffered an unspecified fracture while starring in a film, “Bruised,” in which she plays an MMA fighter.
“The last date of the filming she was working out and stopping and taking time because of the pain,” said the 32-year-old Shevchenko (19-3-0), who was born in the former Soviet Union in what is now Kyrgyzstan. “But she finished all filming and she did great.”
Shevchenko (19-3-0) specializes in Muay Thai and kickboxing, and she is known for the precision of her striking. She said of filming her fight scenes with Berry, “Even when I was pretending that I am hitting hard, I didn’t hit hard, because every time I’m trying to have a lot of control and I did have a lot of control.”
Shevchenko added that the actress’s injury likely occurred while they were grappling, rather than trading strikes, calling the mishap “kind of an accidental thing, turning to another side or something like that.”
Nevertheless, she acknowledged that in MMA, “even when you’re trying to protect yourself as much as you can it’s happening anyway.” She added, “It’s a fight, there’s a lot of movement happening. It’s a lot of angles.”
“At times, I felt like I was really fighting,” Berry told Fallon. “Like, our referee that was in the movie is a real referee, and he said a couple times, ‘Man, I thought I was watching a real fight,’ because she brought so much power and authenticity to our fight scenes.”
Shevchenko won the flyweight crown at UFC 231 by defeating Joanna Jędrzejczyk in December 2018, and she has successfully defended it against Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche and Katlyn Chookagian. Berry turned up in February to support Shevchenko versus Chookagian in the co-headliner event at UFC 247, and Shevchenko called that “one of the biggest motivations for me.”
“Before the fight, she went to our changing rooms when I was warming up,” she said of Berry (via MMA Fighting). “She said, ‘Best wishes,’ and it was amazing.”
This is not the first time in recent years that Berry has gotten injured on the set. While playing an assassin in 2019′s “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” she reportedly incorporated MMA training into vigorous workouts before doing most of her own stunts, and she broke three ribs along the way.
Fallon brought that up while asking about “Bruised,” which Berry also directed. She replied, “I always get hurt, but I realized that, when you go hard, you’re bound to get hurt. When you do your own stunts, you’re bound to get hurt.”
Shevchenko, who described Berry in February as “an actress and a fighter,” told ESPN that she initially was “very careful” in their fight scenes. However, the “Monster’s Ball” and “X-Men” star soon insisted that her on-screen opponent pack a greater wallop.
“She’s like, ‘Hmm, it’s not strong enough. Give me your power. Hit me harder.’ Every time until the end she was claiming she needs more power,” Shevchenko said. “More, more.”