Raquel Pennington and Ashlee Evans-Smith kicked off the FOX Sports 1 portion of the UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II fight card on Saturday night in Las Vegas. It could hardly have been a better opener.
Evans-Smith was making her Octagon debut, and looked good out of the gate. She used her strong wrestling attack to take Pennington to the mat in the first minute of the fight.
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Pennington did a good job defending off of her back, but when they returned to their feet midway through the round Evans-Smith quickly landed a Thai elbow that opened a gash on Pennington’s forehead.
They grappled along the cage for bit before Pennington took Evans-Smith down. Evans-Smith quickly regained her feet, but Pennington maintained position and drug her back to the mat in a bulldog/side choke. She squeezed the choke tight, and as blood poured from Pennington’s face, she put Evans-Smith out cold as the round ended, winning the fight via technical submission at the four-minute-59-second mark.
“I could feel Ashlee go out in those last seconds,” Pennington acknowledged after the fight. “I’ve been a beast with that my whole training camp, so I was just like go, go, go, go.”
The victory moves Pennington to 5-4, but more importantly, puts her back on the right side of the tracks after losing to Jessica Andrade her last time in the Octagon. For Evans-Smith, it was her first professional loss, dropping her record to 3-1.