Under far from perfect circumstances, Katlyn Chookagian put together as close to a perfect fight as possible Saturday night.
Amityville’s Chookagian pitched a virtual shutout, overpowering Antonina Shevchenko for two full rounds before cruising to a unanimous decision win at UFC Fight Night in the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Chookagian earned 10-8 scores from all three judges in each of the opening two rounds on her way to a 30-25, 30-25, 30-25 victory.
The fight was held without spectators because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The UFC’s performance facility opened last year and is expected to host several events as the promotion continues operations throughout the pandemic.
Chookagian (14-3, 7-3 UFC) appeared to take out plenty of aggression on Shevchenko, the older sister of UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, in Chookagian’s first appearance since losing a title fight to the younger sibling in February. The LIer took the fight with less than two weeks notice.
“Felt really good,” Chookagian said. “That’s how I feel in the room every day. I think in the UFC I haven’t been able to show my full potential, and tonight I did it.”
Chookagian got to work quickly against Shevchenko, stopping a kick before securing a takedown and immediately fishing for a choke. Shevchenko wiggled her way out of a couple of compromising positions, but Chookagian kept her right arm in position under the neck and maintained control of her opponent’s back. Unable to fully secure the choke, Chookagian began to mix in punches from top position, looking for the choke while landing punch after punch for the remainder of the round. Shevchenko offered nothing to get out, seeming lost on the ground with no plan to escape Chookagian’s body lock until the closing seconds of the frame.
Shevchenko (8-2) attempted an axe kick to open the second round, but Chookagian fended off the strike and closed the distance. Fighting against the cage, Chookagian soon pulled Shevchenko to the ground, landing in full mount. The Long Island fighter kept her position, refusing to give Shevchenko any space to attempt an escape as Shevchenko rolled between her back and stomach. Eventually Chookagian postured up, landing a few big elbows as the round neared its end.
The fight stayed upright to begin the third round as Chookagian and Shevchenko kickboxed. While Chookagian started the frame slow, she picked up her pace as the round continued, causing more and more damage to Shevchenko. Chookagian took the fight back to the ground in the final minute, piling on more and more punches until the final horn.
Chookagian unofficially outstruck Shevchenko 202-34 over three rounds, according to the UFC broadcast.