ByDanny Segura, writer at
Journalist. Twitter: @DannySeguraTV

Bellator's Anastasia Yankova got the chance to choke jiu-jitsu and MMA legend Royce Gracie leading up to her Bellator 161 bout.

“She’s stronger than she looks," Gracie said on the video. "Man, she’s very strong. When she holds the position, gets a grip of the wrist, you can feel she’s holding on to you."

Yankova, who fights Veta Arteaga this Friday, has three professional MMA fights, and they all come by submission. The Russian 125-pound fighter most recently submitted Anjela Pink with an arm bar at Bellator 152 in April of this year. The official stoppage came at 1:35 of round one.

Yankova's opponent, Arteaga, is undefeated as a professional fighter with a record of 2-0. She last competed at Bellator 155, in May, against Jackie Vandenburgh. Arteaga won that fight via unanimous decision.

Bellator 161 takes place this Friday at the HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas. Heavyweights Cheick Kongo (24-10-2) and Tony Johnson (10-2) are scheduled to headline the card, and Joe Warren vs. Sirwan Kakai are set to battle in the co-main event.

The full Bellator 161 card goes as follows:

  • Cheick Kongo vs. Tony Johnson
  • Joe Warren vs. Sirwan Kakai
  • Anastasia Yankova vs. Veta Arteaga
  • Derek Campos vs. Djamil Chan

Preliminary card (

  • Kenya Miranda vs. Emily Ducote
  • Mark Dickman vs. Daniel Pineda
  • Gregory Babene vs. Francisco France


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