Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejcyzk are back where they started, and Sijara Eubanks has been left out in the cold.
Following the news that the UFC 230 main event will now be a heavyweight title fight between two-division champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Derrick Lewis, a previously announced headlining bout between Shevchenko and Eubanks has been canceled. The two women were supposed to be fighting for a vacant 125-pound title.
Instead, Shevchenko (15-3) will fight Jedrzejczyk (15-2), a former strawweight champion, for the vacant title at UFC 231 on Dec. 8 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. That bout was actually announced back on Sept. 20 before Shevchenko was moved to the Nov. 3 card in New York so that she could main event that show opposite Eubanks.
MMA Fighting confirmed the switch back following an initial report by ESPN.
The initial announcement of Shevchenko-Eubanks was met with much displeasure from the MMA fanbase, due to Eubanks’s relative anonymity and the cancellation of the highly-anticipated Shevchenko-Jedrzejczyk tilt. It wasn’t just the fans who were confused by the change either, as UFC commentator Joe Rogan claimed that he didn’t even know who Eubanks was, and Jedrzejczyk herself was “shocked” by the change.
Now the originally scheduled UFC 231 matchup is back on, with the hope that the nascent UFC women’s flyweight division can find some stability in the wake of inaugural champion Nicco Montano being stripped of the title in September. Montano, who earned the title as the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 26 tournament, was supposed to defend against Shevchenko at UFC 228, but complications with her weight cut led to her being hospitalized less than 48 hours before fight night and officials made the decision to vacate the belt.
It is unknown what the UFC has in store next for Eubanks, who now finds herself without a fight. Eubanks was supposed to face Montano in the finals of TUF 26, but she failed to make weight and was replaced by veteran Roxanne Modafferi, who lost a unanimous decision to Montano. In her official UFC debut in June, Eubanks defeated Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision.