From real to fake and back again. When Paige VanZant’s upcoming bout with Rachael Ostovich was first rumored, it seemed like a sensible enough booking. ‘12 Gauge’ has been sidelined since January dealing with complications from a broken arm suffered in a loss to Jessica-Rose Clark. After nearly a year off, it seemed natural that she’d be itching to step back in the cage.
However, the former strawweight-turned-flyweight was quick to decry reports of her return as “#FakeNews,” noting that she had not yet been cleared by doctors to resume training. Skip ahead a week, VanZant has been cleared, and her fight with Ostovich is going ahead.
VanZant announced the good news about her recovery in a YouTube video blog, confirming that she would be part of the UFC’s first ever ESPN card on January 18th (transcript via MMAjunkie).
“The verdict is I can go for it,” VanZant said. “I can punch people again – well I’m not able to punch people yet – but in like six weeks I can punch people. But I can start training and working out again and I’m going to be fighting in January.”
VanZant is coming off a pair of losses, the first back-to-back defeats in her career, having been submitted by Michelle Waterson in her last bout at 115 lbs in December of 2016, before her most recent loss to Clark.
Ostovich enters the contest off a loss as well, having been submitted by Montana De La Rosa at the TUF 27 Finale back in July. She won her UFC debut against Karine Gevorgyan just 1:40 into the first round via armbar.
A fight between Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson has been rumored for the fight card as well. However, in a recent interview, Thompson claimed that the bout never got beyond some brief conversation, as both he and Lawler are still recovering from knee injuries. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as the end of the UFC on FOX era approaches.