Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Anastasia Yankova has offered fans an insight into the brutal reality of the sport.
Yankova, 25, sported a swollen face, black eye and bruised lip in a selfie posted on her Instagram feed, which has garnered more than 30,000 likes.
She simply wrote: “This is MMA, babe.”
Her injuries are the result of a match against Veta Artega from the United States, which Yankova won.
One of her fans wrote: “When the winner looks like that, [what] the hell does the loser look like?”
Yankova fought in the Bellator 161 Fighting Championships on Friday 16 September and won her flyweight fight, making her an undefeated champion in her field.
But that grand title comes at a toll - namely painful injuries across her face and body.
Yankova, who is also a fitness model, shared a makeup-free photo revealing the brutality of the sport - but with a lighthearted caption - and it went down a storm with fans, most of whom praised her strength and fighting skills.
One person wrote: “Damn that fight was a war! And you’re tough as nails.”
Sadly, there were some who took the opportunity to comment that “MMA is not for women”.
Speaking to Bleacher Report before her fight, Yankova revealed that many people have told her she’s “too pretty” to fight throughout her career, but she doesn’t care.
“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.”
But she proved them wrong by becoming an undefeated champion.
She added: “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.
“At the end of the day, I think I belong here.”
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