It is official. UFC featherweight champion, Cris Cyborg will be making a relatively quick turn around after her last title defense in December to now defend against the Invicta FC bantamweight champion, Yana Kunitskaya. The fight will be Yana’s first in the UFC and her first at 145-pounds since 2012.
The oddsmakers don’t see this one being close. Cyborg has opened as a 10-1 favorite on Bovado while Yana is the 6-1 underdog.
Despite her newfound success at bantamweight, “Foxy” Yana Kunitskaya has always been a true featherweight with nine of her fourteen career bouts coming in that division. After her title-winning effort in her last fight with Raquel Pa’aluhi, the California State Athletic Commission recommended her to move up weight divisions. Initially, she wasn’t planning on following the recommendation as her UFC debut was scheduled to be against top bantamweight contender and former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, Sara McMann at UFC on Fox 28 in Orlando, Florida. That fight fell apart after McMann went to fill in for another fight that saw a fighter suffer an injury in.
After that, Yana stated that she went through five opponent changes before finally settling with an immediate title shot against Cyborg.
The champion, Cris Cyborg wasn’t really sure what would be next for her after her first UFC title defense against Holly Holm at UFC 219. She wanted to face “a featherweight coming off a win” to help build the division. This was made known quite publicly due to the fact that the current UFC bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes had been calling her out for a featherweight super fight.
Eventually, Cyborg would agree and ask for the fight with Nunes at UFC 226 in July. But before anything could get done, UFC 222’s headliner between Frankie Edgar and featherweight champ, Max Holloway fell apart and Cyborg and Yana came to save the day. Perhaps not the 145 vs 135 super fight Cyborg was looking for…but hey, it’s technically still a champion vs champion bout.
Do you agree with the betting odds for Cyborg vs Kunitskaya?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/9/2018.