Raquel Pennington Chokes Out Ashlee Evans-Smith At UFC 181TUF 18 semi-finalist Raquel “Rocky” Pennington scored an incredible come-from-behind victory in a featured bantamweight bout tonight at UFC 181: “Hendricks vs Lawler 2” in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pennington choked out CFA champion Ashlee Evans-Smith at the very end of the first round.

Evans-Smith controlled the majority of tonight’s fight and she opened a cut on Pennington’s forehead with a series of knees in the clinch. In the final 15 seconds of the round, Pennington locked on a standing bulldog choke that rendered Evans-Smith unconscious on the mat just as the bell sounded.


Pennington (5-4-0) initiated a clinch early in tonight’s bout, but Evans-Smith (3-1-0) reversed position against the cage and she took Pennington down into half-guard. Pennington scrambled and tried for a triangle choke, but Evans-Smith slammed her way free and the fight returned to the feet. Evans-Smith cut Pennington with a knee and she trapped her in a standing headlock, but Pennington escaped and briefly took Evans-Smith’s back.

In the clinch, Evans-Smith flurried with punches to the body and she followed with more knees that caused Pennington’s forehead cut to bleed heavily. Pennington countered with a takedown and she landed a nice knee of her own on the way up. Evans-Smith gave up her back and Pennington secured a standing bulldog choke. She dragged Evans-Smith down to the ground and choked her unconscious just as the bell sounded.

With Evans-Smith face-first on the mat and unable to return to her corner between rounds, the fight was waved off and Pennington was declared the winner. The sensational comeback victory got the Colorado native back on track following a close Split Decision loss to rising star Jéssica “Bate Estaca” Andrade at UFC 171 in March.

Winner: Raquel Pennington by Technical Submission (Bulldog Choke) at 4:59 of round one. She improves to 5-4-0.



(Photo Credit: UFC)

  1. Rocky looked great. The fight was great. Ashley looked great. A testimony to legitimacy of WMMA. All around great fight.

  2. Man I had to work and missed it! I had been looking forward to that fight since Ashlee was named as a late replacement. I’m really glad to hear it was such a great fight though. I heard Evans-Smith had to cut from over 160 lb in 3 weeks to make this fight. Dana and the UFC remember those who step up.

    And did you see the gash on Pennington’s forehead? That will take some time and a good plastic surgeon to heal properly. This is the 2nd bad facial cut Raquel has sustained due to a knee – the first of course was on TUF against Jessamyn Duke over her right eye. That healed up great. Let’s hope this one does too.

  3. There was blood everywhere! If Rocky hadn’t done what she did (bulldog choke) at 4:59 of the 1st….the doctor would have stopped it due to injury

  4. What is weird is that Rener Gracie said in his Gracie breakdown that he thought it was unfair of the ref to stop the fight after the bell…like it was not legal…not according to MMA rules and regs. Hey, man…the girl was out fuckin cold!!!! He said she should have been giver the 60 secs to recover during the round break. I say Rocky won…get over it!!

  5. Hey Mike, probably it boils down to can a fighter be “saved by the bell”? In many boxing matches, a fighter cannot be saved by the bell – the referee’s count continues past the bell and the fighter has to get up. In MMA of course, there is no 10-count, so I’m wondering now whether the unified rules say anything about his kind of situation. It is a very rare occurrence, though I must say. It seems to happen a lot more in boxing than in MMA. Maybe that’s just because there are more rounds in boxing?