Joanna Jędrzejczyk (15-2) and Valentina Shevchenko (15-3) have been scheduled to clash at UFC 231 for the vacant Flyweight title.
Shevchenko was supposed to compete for the title against former champion Nicco Montano (4-2) in the co-main event spot of UFC 228. At UFC media day Shevchenko told reporters she still believed Montano would pull out of the fight and her predictions come true when Montano was admitted to hospital and withdrew from the fight due to health issues arising from weight cutting complications.
Montano had earned the Flyweight strap by competing in TUF 26. On her route to the title, she defeated Lauren Murphy, Montana De La Rosa, Barb Honchak and Roxanne Modafferi, picking up unanimous decision victories in each of the match-ups. In the aftermath of her late withdrawal from UFC 228 Montano, the inaugural Flyweight champion was stripped of her belt, without making a single defence.
Shevchenko a two-time title challenger at Bantamweight, holds an impressive resume, with wins over Holly Holm and Juliana Pena .on her record. In February of this year, she dropped down to 125lbs and looked immaculate doing so, dismantling her opponent Priscila Cachoeira on route to a second-round submission victory for which she earned performance of the night.
Jędrzejczyk ruled the 115lbs division from 2015 until late last year, defending her belt on five separate occasions. However back to back defeats to Rose Namajunas have left Jędrzejczyk in a difficult position in the Strawweight division. Despite returning to winning ways by outpointing Tecia Torres in July the former champion appears unlikely to be able to force a trilogy fight with the new Strawweight queen anytime soon. With one door closing another one opens as she has gotten the call for UFC 231. Opportunity knocks for Jędrzejczyk to become a two-weight world champion, the first in the history of the UFC women’s divisions.
The two fighters will compete on December 8th 2018 in Toronto, however, it will not be the first time the two fighters have fought. Both Jędrzejczyk and Shevchenko competed on the Muay Thai circuit, meeting each other on three occasions, with Shevchenko the victor in each of the contests, the last of which was over 10 years ago.
The fourth bout under MMA rules promises to provide an absorbing, high quality and high stakes striking match-up. UFC 231 represents a true mega-fight between two of the best women to ever compete in the sport. Whilst also providing the opportunity for one of the combatants to establish themselves as queen at 125lbs and announce the Flyweight division as one to watch.