On Tuesday, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported the UFC were cancelling the touted Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk contest in favour of moving Shevchenko to UFC 230 and facing Sijara Eubanks for the vacant women’s 125-pound title.
The news comes after the promotion have repeatedly refused to introduce a 165-pound weight class and have co-main eventers Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz meet for a new world title. When asked about his disinterest in a new division, UFC president Dana White has consistently suggested it would dilute the existing 155 and 170-pound weight classes too much to be a valuable addition.
Poirier and Diaz will remain the co-main event, and fight in a three round contest as originally scheduled.
BREAKING: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Sijara Eubanks for the vacant flyweight tile will headline UFC 230 on Nov. 3 in Madison Square Garden, per multiple sources.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 2, 2018
Traditionally, the UFC have provided blockbuster main events for their appearances at Madison Square Garden (the host of UFC 230). Unfortunately for them, they’ve had issues finding a suitable candidate, and with their business model preferring title bouts to be atop PPV cards, they’ve struggled to find an existing champion available to compete.
As such, they decided to nix the Shevchenko – Jedrzejczyk bout in order to get some gold in New York. But while Shevchenko has championship level credentials, Eubanks is something of an unknown commodity amongst the UFC fanbase. So much so, even UFC commentator Joe Rogan was left confused by the announcement, reacting to the news during a live stream of his podcast with Brendan Schaub.
“No offense, but I don’t even know who Sijara Eubanks is, and I’m the commentator for the UFC,” Rogan said.
“I’ve never heard of her,” guest Brendan Schaub said. “And I’m not being a dick either, I’m just saying as far as headlining Madison Square Garden? You got some nerve, whoever put this together.”
You really blew it Nate…
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 2, 2018