Sijara Eubanks still has a chance to create a Madison Square Garden moment.
A day after it was announced that Eubanks would not be facing Valentina Shevchenko in a previously reported women’s flyweight championship main event bout at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 — in favor of a previously announced Shevchenko-Joanna Jedrzejczyk flyweight title fight at UFC 231 being restored — Newsday is reporting that Eubanks will remain on the New York card and face veteran Roxanne Modafferi.
The bout will be a rematch of their Ultimate Fighter 26 semifinal encounter that Eubanks won by unanimous decision.
That victory was supposed to propel Eubanks into the first-ever UFC women’s flyweight championship match at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale opposite Nicco Montano, but Eubanks failed to make weight for that bout and was instead replaced by Modafferi. Montano went on to defeat Modafferi by unanimous decision to become the UFC’s inaugural women’s champion at 125 pounds.
Eubanks made her official debut with the promotion at UFC Utica in June, where she beat Lauren Murphy by unanimous decision to improve to 3-2 as a professional (she defeated Modafferi, DeAnna Bennett, and Maia Stevenson in TUF 26 exhibition bouts).
After Montano was forced to withdraw from her first title defense at UFC 228 due to weight-cutting complications, she was subsequently stripped of the belt and a bout between Shevchenko and Jedrzeczyk for the vacant championship was announced for Dec. 8. However, it was later reported that Shevchenko would be facing Eubanks for that title instead so that UFC 230 could be headlined by a championship belt.
When news broke Tuesday that heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier would now be defending against Derrick Lewis in the UFC 230 main event, Shevchenko was moved back to her UFC 231 title fight with Jedrzejczyk.
Modafferi, a 15-year veteran of the sport, picked up her first UFC win after two previous tries when she defeated former Invicta FC champion Barb Honchak by second-round TKO at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale in July. “The Happy Warrior” holds a 22-14 record competing for a variety of major promotions including the UFC, Invicta, Jewels, Cage Warriors, and Strikeforce.