With UFC 230’s headliner now set, the promotion is reshuffling the deck – and removing a controversial backup fight.
Valentina Shevchenko (15-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) was scheduled to take on “The Ultimate Fighter 26” finalist Sijara Eubanks (3-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at the Nov. 3 pay-per-view event. But now that two-division champ Daniel Cormier (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is set to face Derrick Lewis (21-5 MMA, 12-3 UFC), Shevchenko has been reinstalled against her originally scheduled opponent, ex-strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC).
The two will meet in the co-headliner of UFC 231, which takes place Dec. 8 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. News of the switch was confirmed by UFC President Dana White via ESPN.com reporter Brett Okamoto
Shevchenko’s matchup with Eubanks was openly criticized by fighters and MMA observers as an unworthy headliner for the New York event, which struggled to find available draws for its marquee fight. Jedrzejczyk also chafed at the switch, calling out the UFC for not honoring a signed contract.
“My feelings are even more intensified when I think of the obligations I had to resign from, as they would have happened in the time of my camp,” she wrote on Instagram.
Jedrzejczyk initially resisted a move to the 125-pound division, preferring to get another crack at current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, who handed her a pair of losses. But with support for a third bout apparently low, she signaled her interest in a meeting with Shevchenko, who beat her three times as a professional kickboxer.
Shevchenko, meanwhile, is just happy to be fighting for a belt. She was scheduled to take on inaugural champ Nicco Montano at UFC 228, but Montano was forced to withdraw from the event at the last minute due to a botched weight cut. The UFC subsequently stripped Montano of the belt and sought a replacement fight for the vacant belt.
The switch is bad news for Eubanks, who was ruled out of a fight for the inaugural flyweight title at the TUF 26 Finale when she suffered complications due to a weight cut. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The UFC 231 lineup now includes:
Champ Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega – for featherweight title
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valentina Shevchenko – for vacant women’s flyweight title
Nina Ansaroff vs. Claudia Gadelha
Devin Clark vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Kyle Bochniak vs. Hakeem Dawodu
Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns
Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez
Jimi Manuwa vs. Thiago “Marreta” Santos
Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou
Diego Ferreira vs. John Makdessi