Could Vogue and Nike athlete Anastasia Yankova be new face of women's MMA?

Gareth A Davies
Yankova (right) faces Kallionidou in Torino tonight

Bellator prospect Anastasia Yankova returns to action tomorrow night in Italy, and the flyweight who has featured in the Russian edition of Vogue magazine and has a deal with Nike could yet be another Ronda Rousey in the sport of mixed martial arts.

The Russian-born Yankova, already a star in her homeland, meets Elina Kallionidou at Bellator 176 in Torino, Italy, with the fight taking place at a catchweight limit. The two women weighed in on Friday, Yankova at 133lbs and Kallionidou at 131lbs.

The undefeated Yankova (4-0) is 2-0 under the Bellator banner, most recently defeating Veta Arteaga via split decision in September.

Kallionidou (5-1) suffered the first loss of her young career in December when she dropped a unanimous decision to Sinead Kavanagh in her Bellator debut.

Yankova was recently featured in the Russian-edition of Vogue Magazine after signing a deal with Nike Russia. The fighter has transitioned into MMA after being a Muay Thai champion. 

The event in Italy, headlined by Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef 2 for the Bellator middleweight title, will mark the promotion’s second card at the Pala Alpitour in Torino.

Yankova, who has been using both her fighting skills and looks to develop a following within the sport, said yesterday:

"I’m very excited to be back here in Italy.  My first time fighting in Turin went really well for me, so I’m looking to repeat my victory. When Bellator asked me if I wanted to fight here again on this event, it was a very easy decision for me, of course I want to fight here.

"I train hard like always with Mike Swick at AKA Thailand, so now I am ready and I can’t wait for this Saturday.”

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