After UFC 222 was put in major jeopardy with Max Holloway’s leg injury, the UFC was scrambling 100mph in order to save the card. They were trying to get TJ Dillashaw to defend his title against Cody Garbrandt, while keeping Frankie Edgar on the card as the co-main in a non-title fight. Even Nate Diaz was in the running to jump on. It looks like now the UFC are trying to throw Cris Cyborg on the card to defend her women’s UFC featherweight title against former Invicta FC bantamweight champ Yana Kunitskaya.
There are deals in place to have Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya for the women’s 145 belt headline UFC 222 on 3/3 w/ Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega as the co-main, per multiple sources. Not 100% finalized but that’s the current direction and it’s looking promising at the moment.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 7, 2018
Frankie Edgar would stay on the card to fight Brian Ortega in the co-main event. Cyborg’s potential opponent Yana Kunitskaya was already scheduled to make her UFC debut on the card to face Leah Leatson, but it looks like they are willing to scrap that fight just to put a title on the line and keep it a pay-per-view. Nothing is finalized, but the UFC is clearly doing all they can to put together an event that people will pay money for.
Yana Kunitskaya would be moving up to featherweight and has previously lost to Tonya Evinger, who Cyborg has already beat. If Cyborg’s hesitation toward the superfight with Amanda Nunes was to focus on bringing legitimacy to the 145 division, the UFC’s booking of this fight would potentially undermine that. As for Ortega, he’s long been deserving of a title shot and was even willing to wait until Edgar got his. Now, he potentially will fight for that spot.
— Yana Kunitskaya (@YanaKunitskaya1) January 25, 2018
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/7/2018.