UFC 222 has a new main event. Reigning UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg will put her belt on the line against Invicta bantamweight contender Yana Kunitskaya.
The co-main event has been confirmed as a featherweight scrap between former 155lb champ Frankie Edgar and rising star Brian Ortega.
Cyborg will be making a faster than anticipated return to action. Her last fight was a successful title defence against Holly Holm at UFC 219 in December 2017.
A former Invicta bantamweight title challenger, Kunitskaya will be making both her UFC and featherweight debut against Cyborg. She was originally scheduled to face Leah Ledson further down the same card.
Following the cancellation of his title fight against Max Holloway due to injury, Edgar is risking his number 1 contender status to fight the dangerous submission specialist Ortega.
Ortega holds a perfect 13-0 professional record. His last fight was a submission win against top 5 contender Cub Swanson in December 2017. This change in opponent marks the second failed attempt to book a title fight with Holloway since the Rodriguez fight. It is undeniably a risky fight for Edgar to take. He was locked in as the number 1 contender in the division and a loss to Ortega will see him drop beneath him in the featherweight rankings.
Edgar hasn’t fought since his destructive win against Yair Rodriguez in May last year. This is the second failed attempt to book a title fight with Holloway in that time.
The news of the two additional fights was first reported by MMA Fighting earlier this evening.
With these fights confirmed, it puts to bed any speculation that we might see Cody Garbrandt step up to 145lbs to face Edgar. It also means that for now at least, we can pause any discussion of a champion vs champion superfight between Cyborg and women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.