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Antonina Shevchenko claims first-ever submission victory after bloody battle at UFC Newark

Antonina Shevchenko claims first-ever submission victory after bloody battle at UFC Newark
Kyrgyzstan's Antonina "La Pantera" Shevchenko showed her progression as a rising star of the UFC's women's flyweight division with a second-round submission victory over Czech fighter Lucie Pudilova in New Jersey.

Shevchenko headed into her preliminary card bout with Pudilova in Newark looking to bounce back into the win column following a split-decision loss to Roxanne Modafferi in her last outing.

That defeat was her first as a professional mixed martial artist, and clearly inspired her to go back to the gym and work on her all-round MMA game because she returned to action looking more comfortable on the mat than in previous matchups.

Shevchenko suffered a bad cut over her left eye from a Pudilova elbow in the opening period after the Czech scored a big takedown late in the round. But the sister of reigning UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko was undeterred and came back strongly in the second round to score an impressive submission win.

The victory came via a rear-naked choke, as Shevchenko back-mounted Pudilova and locked up the submission with the Czech lying face-down on the mat. Eventually, the referee checked on Pudilova, who had been choked unconscious, and called off the bout as "El Pantera" celebrated the first submission win of her career.

It saw the 34-year-old return to winning ways and gave her sister the perfect boost ahead of her world title defense in Uruguay, where she will face the first woman to ever defeat her, former bantamweight title challenger Liz Carmouche, in Montevideo on August 10.