Women’s flyweight title fight added to UFC 231 in Toronto


UFC star Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan follows through on a punch. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Two of the top strikers in women’s mixed martial arts have been added to UFC 231 in Toronto as Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk are set to compete for the organization’s vacant flyweight title.

The UFC made an official announcement Thursday night.

Shevchenko (15-3) was all set to compete for the women’s 125-pound title earlier this month at UFC 228, but now-former champion Nicco Montano was hospitalized during her weight cut and later stripped of her title—an inaugural belt she never managed to defend after winning it in December.

Shevchenko came close to taking home the bantamweight crown in 2017 but dropped a split decision to current champ Amanda Nunes. After that loss she decided to try her luck at 125 pounds, winning her debut impressively against Priscila Cachoeira in February.

Meanwhile, Jedrzejczyk (15-2) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Tecia Torres in July. Jedrzejczyk served as UFC strawweight champion from 2015-2017 before losing back-to-back fights to current 115-pound champion Rose Namajunas. The Polish star hasn’t fought in the 125-pound weight class since 2014. Although she never missed weight as a strawweight, Jedrzejczyk had been open about how difficult the cut to 115 pounds had become.

Both Shevchenko and Jedrzejczyk are former world champions in both Muay Thai and kickboxing prior to competing in MMA. In fact, they fought one another in three consecutive I.F.M.A. world championship tournaments from 2006 to 2008 with Shevchenko winning all three by unanimous decision.

UFC 231 is scheduled to take place Dec. 8 at Scotiabank Arena. A featherweight title fight between champion Max Holloway and challenger Brian Ortega is expected to headline the card, but the UFC has yet to officially announce a main event.

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