Flyweight fighters Antonina Shevchenko (sister to champion Valentina) and Roxanne Modafferi faced each other today (Saturday, April 20, 2019) inside Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg, streaming only on ESPN+. Modafferi was coming off a loss to Sijara Eubanks, while Shevchenko was sitting on an undefeated 7-0 record.
Roxanne started off trying to punch her way in, but Antonina slid just out of range and countered her with check hooks. A nice counter combination landed for Shevchenko. Roxanne ate a jab. Shevchenko landed a leg kick, then a body kick. Roxanne tried to pressure, but her punches all fell just short. She came forward again, and Shevchenko pivoted out with a nice check hook. Finally Modafferi landed a nice right hand that backed Antonina up. She clinched, pushing Shevchenko up against the cage. Modafferi drove for a takedown and got it when Antonina tried for a kimura. Modafferi got out of the kimura and held Antonina down for a few seconds. Shevchenko managed to stand, but Modafferi retained the clinch and threw Antonina down again. She got into full mount and Antonina held on for dear life so Modafferi couldn’t get the full force into her ground and pound before the round ended.
Antonina came out a bit more aggressive in the second round, putting together combinations and landing a spinning backfist when Modafferi tried to resume her forward movement. Modafferi waded forward through the punches, trying to get to the clinch again, and eventually did. Roxanne tried to work that same underhook/single leg chain that got her takedowns in the first round, and Shevchenko tried to counter with an overhook and knees to the body. Modafferi landed the throw, and despite basing out using the overhook, Shevchenko still ended up on the bottom, where Modafferi went to work with tight control and ground and pound. Shevchenko tried to regain her guard, throwing up a couple elbows from the bottom, to the delight of the home crowd, who were cheering anything she did. Roxanne advanced to half guard on the other side, then slipped her let through to 3⁄4 mount, landing hard punches and elbows along the way. Shevchenko regained half guard, as Modafferi settled for control and some damage.
Antonina came out very aggressive in the third, landing heavy combinations and body kicks. Roxanne caught one of the kicks and took her down in the center of the cage. Antonina turtled and Roxanne took her back, but Antonina managed to reverse in a Herculean effort and took top position in Roxanne’s guard. Unfortunately for her, she stayed there long enough for Roxanne to sweep her straight into mount. Modafferi dropped elbows and punches on the hapless Shevchenko sister as Valentina screamed from the sidelines. Perhaps it was the screaming, but Antonina did manage to shuck Modafferi off and stand up. Before she could achieve full separation, Roxanne waded forward again and pinned her against the cage, diving for that single-leg again. Shevchenko fought to find space, looking for knees, but couldn’t get clear of the cage. Roxanne eventually landed another takedown and finished the fight in top position.
Roxanne Modafferi won cheers from the crowd by shouting something in Russian afterwards about the beautiful city of St. Petersburg. She said Antonina is a very strong opponent, very skilled, and she drilled her takedowns off the left side a lot. She said she wants to fight Cyborg next- just kidding! Whatever will grow her skills as a martial artist. Great win for the Happy Warrior, Roxanne Modafferi.
Results: Roxanne Modafferi def. Antonina Shevchenko via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29)
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