For weeks now, the UFC has been struggling to find a main event for their return to Madison Square Garden in November. A number of possible fights were linked to the event including Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson for the light heavyweight title and Gustafsson vs. Yoel Romero for an interim title but neither bout came to fruition. Most notably, Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier - who will fight in the co-main event that evening - campaigned hard to fight for the UFC’s inaugural 165-pound title in the main event, but UFC President Dana White categorically shut that idea down. Now we know why.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Valentina Shevchenko would face Sijara Eubanks for the vacant women’s flyweight title in the main event for UFC 230. It’s a head-scratching decision, in no small part because Shevchenko was supposed to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant flyweight belt at UFC 231. It’s also a puzzling decision because most fans don’t even know who Eubanks is, and that includes highly visible UFC employees.
Speaking on his The Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show podcast, UFC commentator Joe Rogan gave a live reaction to the announcement, admitting that he doesn’t even know who Sijara Eubanks is.
“What?!” Rogan said. “No offense but I don’t even know who Sijara Eubanks is and I’m the commentator for the UFC.”
Rogan was not alone in his bewilderment. Rogan’s guest yesterday was MMA analyst and former UFC heavyweight, Brendan Schaub, and Schaub was in the same boat as Rogan.
“That’s gonna headline Madison Square Garden?!” Schaub said. “I’ve lost all energy in my body. Oh yeah, that gets my d*ck harder than Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz for the 165-pound title.
“I’ve never heard of her, and I’m not being a d*ck either. I’m just saying, as far as headlining Madison Square Garden, you’ve got some nerve putting this together.”
Rogan and Schaub’s confusion can perhaps be excused since Eubanks is far from a household name. Eubanks made her bones on season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter, making her way to the finals where she was to compete against Nicco Montano for the inaugural 125-pound title. Eubanks missed weight for that bout and was subsequently replaced by veteran Roxanne Modafferi, who lost to Montano via unanimous decision. Since then, Eubanks has fought once, making her UFC debut with a unanimous decision win over Lauren Murphy.
Meanwhile, the UFC stripped Montano when she was unable to make weight for her scheduled title defense against Shevchenko and set up the Shevchenko-Jedrzejczyk fight that has now been abandoned in favor of Shevchenko-Eubanks. It’s a convoluted series of events that, as Rogan points out, doesn’t exactly reveal a deft hand pulling the promotional strings.
“Valentina against a girl who is 4-2 with one fight in the UFC, for the flyweight title,” Rogan said. “Nicco Montano, that stripped her because she didn’t make weight for one fight. What? Huh?”
For her part, Eubanks seems to be taking it all in stride, responding to Rogan’s reaction on her Twitter account and promising that Rogan would “never forget her again.”
Me when @joerogan acting like he don’t me on his podcast pic.twitter.com/MOwUEgBzyW— Sijara SarJ Eubanks (@SarJnCharge) October 2, 2018
@joerogan I’ll give you a little refresher next time you’re in jersey. We’ll train some BJJ and you’ll never forget me again Hahhaa Or you and the rest of the world can tune in Nov 3 and watch history. The Eubanks name will never be overlooked again— Sijara SarJ Eubanks (@SarJnCharge) October 2, 2018
Eubanks has a professional MMA record of 3-2, not including her three wins in The Ultimate Fighter house to advance to the TUF Finale. Shevchenko has a 15-3 record in MMA and an extensive background in Muay Thai and kickboxing where she won several world championships. Shevchenko also previously contended for the UFC bantamweight title, losing a controversial split decision to Amanda Nunes as UFC 215.
Strip. Tony Ferguson on UFC stripping interim title: ‘How do you think I f*cking feel?’
125. Valentina Shevchenko to face Sijara Eubanks for flyweight title in UFC 230 main event.
Coward. Alexander Gustafsson wants Jon Jones to sign contract: ‘Stop being a coward.’
KO. Anthony Pettis predicts Conor McGregor will knock out Khabib Nurmagomedov.
No bicep. Michael McDonald details how ‘worst pain’ of his life led to retirement decision.
Teammates talking about what makes Khabib different.
The lineage of the 155 pound title.
THE preview to watch.
Obviously Fight Talk. Previewing UFC 229 with our own Chuck Mindenhall.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Y’all salty!! pic.twitter.com/bgOtyQIS9m— Sijara SarJ Eubanks (@SarJnCharge) October 2, 2018
For everybody all excited over the weight I just FaceTimed @Mickmaynard2 to check the scale so simmer down. Y’all gonna get a helluva fight on Nov 3rd! And for all the haters saying it’s a whack fight, don’t try to find the fight replay all bootleg the next day, pay it up on ppv— Sijara SarJ Eubanks (@SarJnCharge) October 2, 2018
Yeah. Nate is why this happened.
You really blew it Nate...— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 2, 2018
I thought you were a real one @NateDiaz209— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 3, 2018
@BulletValentina I kno there was miscommunication but you gotta sign. As a woman you have my word, I will make the weight and we will fight for this belt like true warriors.— Sijara SarJ Eubanks (@SarJnCharge) October 2, 2018
Joanna is all of us.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s response to the Valentina Shevchenko/Sijara Eubanks booking #UFC #WMMA #UFC230 pic.twitter.com/aFEWODmNcg— Farah Hannoun (@Farah_Hannoun) October 2, 2018
Who is Sijara Eubanks? I hate having to use google. #ufc #idiots— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) October 3, 2018
October 2, 2018
I don’t understand why @jessicaevileye didn’t get that title shot. Surely a better option then Eubanks ♂️ #ufc #confused— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) October 3, 2018
Fake news ....— Jessica Eye (@jessicaevileye) October 2, 2018
Since it's real news and you ( @jessicaevileye ) no longer have an opponent, it's time we run things back but in my country via #ufc231 . Could stretch down to 130lbs if you need an advantage https://t.co/qFGS81OgDw— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) October 2, 2018
Make flyweight ... because I am a flyweight it’s Where I have always wanted to be and should have always been. Who said I don’t have another opponent already for my original date dec 29 th ?? https://t.co/d212cY2nk7— Jessica Eye (@jessicaevileye) October 2, 2018
You could just be honest with yourself and say you're trying to take easy fights https://t.co/HqiDrHbvzd— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) October 3, 2018
you are so lame .I moved back to my old weight class (flyweight and had all my success ) before my UFC career. My life is going in different directions, It’s unfortunate that you dont have the kahunas to start fights in your own division. move on or come to 125 https://t.co/Pgy4JWQZig— Jessica Eye (@jessicaevileye) October 3, 2018
Really appreciate the love guys and to bring back such good memories with @KID_KRAZYBEE. We had talk about that after we became friends and we always messed with each other about who had the greatest fly knee. Kid will be always remembered as of if the wildest in the game pic.twitter.com/69xAFyLTEE— Gesias JZ Cavalcante (@Gesias) October 2, 2018
Not even sure what is going on here.
It's the #FightWeek of all Fight weeks! I can't wait for this! @TeamKhabib x @TheNotoriousMMA #UFC229 pic.twitter.com/3RiNb3xA1L— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) October 2, 2018
Lorenz Larkin (19-7, 1 NC) vs. Ion Pascu (18-8); Bellator 207, Oct. 12.
Robson Gracie (0-0) vs. Jamal Pottinger (0-0); Bellator 208, Oct. 13.
Jennifer Chieng (0-0) vs. Jessica Ruiz (0-0); Bellator 208, Oct. 13.
Valentina Shevchenko (15-3) vs. Sijara Eubanks (3-2); UFC 230, Nov. 3.
Angela Lee (9-0) vs. Jingnan Xiong (13-1); ONE Championship, Nov. 9.
Bibiano Fernandes (22-3) vs. Kevin Belingon (19-5); ONE Championship, Nov. 9.
Rafael dos Anjos (28-10) vs. Kamaru Usman (13-1); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Pedro Munhoz (16-3, 1 NC) vs. Bryan Caraway (21-9); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Gilbert Melendez (22-7) vs. Arnold Allen (13-1); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Ashlee Evans-Smith (6-3) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (6-0); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Roosevelt Roberts (6-0) vs. Darrell Horcher (13-3); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Darren Stewart (9-3) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (6-0); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Tim Means (27-10) vs. Ricky Rainey (13-5); TUF 28 Finale, Nov. 30.
Mauricio Rua (25-11) vs. Tyson Pedro (7-2); UFC Adelaide, Dec. 2.
Junior dos Santos (19-5) vs. Tai Tuivasa (8-0); UFC Adelaide, Dec. 2.
Mark Hunt (13-13-1, 1 NC) vs. Justin Willis (7-1); UFC Adelaide, Dec. 2.
Lucas sums it up very well.
"We have booked the best fight possible in women's MMA, they have history together and it involves the best strawweight we've seen so far, let's just cancel it and put Valentina against whoever won a couple of random 2 rounders on a TUF nobody watched. In the Garden."— Lucas Bourdon (@lucas_bourdon) October 3, 2018
Seriously. Good for Eubanks, you’ve gotta take the opportunities given and make the most of them, but this is becoming absurd. The UFC’s insistence on having title fights headline PPVs is everything wrong with their promotional strategy. You make PPVs around fights fans care about, not around dates and locations where you then have to plug something in. This really isn’t that hard. MSG or not, the numbers on this thing are gonna be atrocious. 5 digits atrocious.
Anyway, thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
How do you feel about the Shevchenko-Eubanks fight?
This poll is closed
I like it.
It’s so dumb.
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