UFC 230 has its main event, but at the cost of another marquee fight.
MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi confirmed with sources that Valentina Shevchenko has been moved from a previously announced bout with Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 to instead face Sijara Eubanks in the main event of UFC 230 on Nov. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. As with the Jedrzejczyk booking, this will be for the vacant UFC women’s flyweight championship.
The change was first reported by ESPN.
This is the third time that Shevchenko has been scheduled for a flyweight title fight this year. She was supposed to challenge then-champion Nicco Montano at UFC 228 on Sept. 8, but Montano was hospitalized less than 48 hours before fight night due to complications with her weight cut and the bout was subsequently canceled. In the fallout, Montano, the promotion’s inaugural women’s champion at 125 pounds, was stripped of the belt.
It was later announced that Shevchenko would fight Jedrzejczyk, the former long-reigning strawweight champion, at UFC 231 in Toronto on Dec. 8 for the vacant title. However, it appears that the decision was made to reschedule Shevchenko due to UFC 230 still needing a headliner just over a month away from the event.
Lightweight stars Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier have been openly campaigning for the headlining spot at MSG, and for their fight to be for a 165-pound title, but that suggestion has not been acknowledged in any official capacity.
As for Eubanks, this will mark her shot at redemption as she was initially meant to compete in the first-ever UFC women’s flyweight title fight after competing on season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter. Eubanks and Montano made their way through a 16-woman tournament to earn their spots in the finals to crown a 125-pound women’s champion on Dec. 1, 2017, but Eubanks was unable to make weight for the contest and she was replaced by veteran Roxanne Modafferi, who lost to Montano via unanimous decision.
Eubanks (3-2) made her official UFC debut in June, defeating Lauren Murphy by unanimous decision at UFC Utica. During her stint on TUF 26, Eubanks claimed wins over Maia Stevenson, DeAnna Bennett, and Modafferi.