UFC on ESPN 9 Prelims: Katlyn Chookagian Dominates Antonina Shevchenko

By Tristen Critchfield May 30, 2020

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It wasn’t the sister she really wanted to defeat, but Katlyn Chookagian is nonetheless 1-1 against the Shevchenko family.

One fight removed from a TKO loss in a flyweight championship bout to Valentina Shevchenko earlier this year, Chookagian authored an absolutely dominant performance against Antonina Shevchenko at UFC on ESPN 9, winning a lopsided unanimous verdict at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. All three judges submitted 30-25 scorecards in favor of Chookagian.

Shevchenko was never competitive. “Blonde Fighter” mounted her opponent in each frame, threatened with multiple rear-naked chokes in Round 1 and unloaded hellacious ground-and-pound in the second stanza. Shevchenko (8-2, 2-2 UFC) was able to keep the majority of the third round standing, but Chookagian (14-3, 7-3 UFC) punctuated her victory with one final takedown and barrage of punches from mount in the final 30 seconds.

“I feel like in the UFC I haven’t been able to show my full potential. Tonight I think I did it,” Chookagian said.

“I’ve never doubted my jiu-jitsu … I just haven’t got to show it because I haven’t put my wrestling together.”

Rodriguez Holds Off Green

Daniel Rodriguez garnered a unanimous verdict against Gabriel Green in an entertaining welterweight scrap. All three cageside judges scored the contest 30-27 in favor of Rodriguez (12-1, 2-0 UFC), who was coming off an upset of Tim Means in his Octagon debut in February. Green (9-3, 0-1 UFC), meanwhile, saw a six-fight winning streak come to an end.

Rodriguez spent the majority of the bout working behind crisp one-two combinations that eventually opened a cut on the side of his foe’s face. Green, who stepped in for Kevin Holland on less than a week’s notice, never relented with forward pressure. He had some success attacking with kicks to the body, but all too often his aggression was met with straight punches from Rodriguez.

“It’s everything I respected,” Rodriguez said. “That dude’s tough. He kept coming.”

Related » UFC on ESPN 9 Round-by-Round Scoring

Hill Stays Unbeaten, Overwhelms Abreu

Jamahal Hill was devastating at range and in close quarters, and that was a deadly combination for Klidson Abreu.

Hill put Abreu away in short order, winning via technical knockout 1:51 into the first round of a light heavyweight matchup. The Dana White’s Contender Series alum floored his Brazilian foe with a knee to the midsection and closed the show with a barrage of follow-up punches on the canvas.

“Coming out of the quarantine, this was real tough,” Hill said. “I’m just happy I was able to perform and show the world what I can do.”

Hill (8-0, 2-0 UFC) showcased his five-inch reach advantage when he dropped Abreu (15-5, 1-3 UFC) with a straight left-right hook combination during an initial exchange. Abreu hustled back to his feet, but shortly thereafter, Hill followed a right hook with the decisive knee and ground-and-pound to earn his fourth career TKO victory.

Royval Submits Elliott in Debut

Brandon Royval weathered an early storm to win his UFC debut, submitting former title challenger Tim Elliott in the frenetically-paced flyweight affair. The ex-Legacy Fighting Alliance 125-pound king brought an end to the contest with an arm-triangle choke at the 3:18 mark of Round 2.

Elliott set a ridiculous pace in the opening frame, as he attempted to impose his will through multiple takedowns. That approach took its toll, however, and when Elliott began to fade in the second period, Royval started to win the battle for positioning. Just prior to the finishing sequence, the Factory X representative mounted his opponent, and when Elliott attempted to scramble out of danger, that allowed Royval (11-4, 1-0 UFC) to find the opening he needed. From there, “Raw Dawg” passed to the proper side, and a winded Elliott (15-11-1, 4-9 UFC) had no choice but to tap.

Elliott, who earned a shot at then champ Demetrious Johnson by winning “The Ultimate Fighter 24,” has lost three straight UFC appearances.

Kenney Chokes Out Smolka

Former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Casey Kenney earned his first finish in UFC competition, as he tapped out Louis Smolka in a bantamweight encounter. The end came 3:30 into the opening stanza, when Kenney locked in a tight, one-arm guillotine choke.

While Smolka enjoyed moderate success attacking the body of his opponent, Kenney made him pay by consistently countering with combinations. One of those instances set up the finishing sequence: Kenney wobbled Smolka with a counter right hook and locked in the choke when his adversary attempted to shoot for a takedown. Although Kenney (14-2-1, 3-1 UFC) was unable to achieve full mount with the maneuver, the resulting squeeze was enough to force Smolka (16-7, 7-7 UFC) to ask out of the fight.

Leg Kicks Carry Gutierrez to TKO

Chris Gutierrez immobilized Vince Morales with a steady barrage of low kicks, winning via technical knockout in a featherweight affair. One final calf kick sent Morales (9-5, 1-3 UFC) to the canvas at the 4:27 mark of Round 2, and referee Jason Herzog stepped in to wave off the contest. Gutierrez (15-4-1, 3-1 UFC) has won three straight in the Octagon.

Gutierrez’s target was apparent from the outset. He stalked Morales patiently, attacking his foe’s lead leg repeatedly. With his movement impaired, Morales was able to offer little in the way of offense as Gutierrez mixed in kicks to the head against his hobbled foe. Morales was struggling to stand by the time of the stoppage.

“I kick hard. At least that’s what I’ve been told,” Gutierrez said. Advertisement
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