Female MMA star reveals brutal toll of victory

Russian fighter Anastasia Yankova has taken to social media to show off the full toll of her brutal fight at Bellator 161.

Fighting in Bellator for just the second time, the 25-year-old emerged victorious against American Veta Arteaga via a split decision.

Having previously had her legitimacy as a fighter questioned, she posted the following image on Instagram in a bid to shut down her critics:

"This is MMA, babe," she captioned the picture.

She also slammed suggestions that Bellator judges had favoured her because of her star value and glamorous looks.

The part-time model is already being referred to as Bellator's version of UFC beauty Paige VanZant — and it's not hard to see why.

"At a tournament, my teammates and my friends said I was too pretty," she told Bleacher Report recently.

Image: Getty

"They worried I would break my nose. They said, 'You're a Barbie doll, you can't fight.' People didn't have any confidence in me.

"It's almost like a double-edged sword.

Image: Instagram

"I didn't start out thinking about my looks or how far they could take me. I just started fighting.

"Besides being a fighter, I'm also a woman. Just because I'm fighting, it doesn't mean I have to turn into a man. I like that people find me attractive. All women like that. That didn't change because I'm a fighter."

Image: Instagram

"It might have taken me longer (without her looks)," she said.

"It might have taken me longer to get recognised by the fans, but at the end of the day, I think I belong here and I would have ended up here anyway."