It was announced yesterday that UFC 222 had been saved. Initially what was supposed to be Max Holloway attempting to make his second featherweight title defense against Frankie Edgar turned into…well, another featherweight title fight actually but instead with the other champ! Cris Cyborg will now be headlining the event as she defends against the Invicta FC bantamweight champion, Yana Kunitskaya. As for Edgar, he will remain on the card and take on the quickly rising contender, Brian Ortega in the co-main event.
While some are happy that the event was saved at all, that doesn’t mean everyone liked what it was saved with. And among those include former Strikeforce and UFC 135-pound champ, Miesha Tate who had this to say about the change on MMA on SiriusXM:
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) February 8, 2018
“You can’t just throw a fight like this on for the main event and expect people to buy into it. I don’t think that’s a very fair thing to do.
Yana [Kunitskaya] has yet to be developed as a true star of the UFC and of mixed martial arts. I’m not saying I don’t think she will become a star, and this surely is a great opportunity for her but…she’s not there yet. What makes me want to buy a pay-per-view for someone that i’m not really familiar with?
I think pretty much everybody who headlines a major pay-per-view UFC event, we’re talking the most elite organization in martial arts, in the world, usually has a pretty good following. And that’s not the case for this main event, for this title fight that’s really [Cris] Cyborg bearing the weight of this card on her shoulders and I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think I want to spend $65 on that card for the off ‘what if’ chance that this may turn out to be a great fight.”
Yana Kunitskaya will be making her UFC debut when she challenges for Cyborg’s featherweight crown. This is a fight Yana was actually asking for after losing out on her initial fight with Sara McMann at UFC on Fox 28 in Orlando(a bantamweight contest) due to McMann filling in for a different fight. Then the same day news broke for her getting the featherweight title shot, before the news broke the UFC had put together Yana vs fellow Invicta fighter, Leah Letson for UFC 222 also at featherweight. Obviously, they quickly scrapped that so that the Russian could vie for the title.
Do you agree with Miesha here? Will you still tune in to UFC 222 despite the change?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/8/2018.