Former strawweight title challenger Jessica Penne is likely fighting for her job when she meets Jodie Esquibel at UFC Phoenix in February.
A strawweight showdown between two athletes likely fighting for their spot on the UFC roster has been set for the promotion’s debut on the main ESPN network. Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel was announced by UFC officials Monday, set for UFC on ESPN 1, more commonly UFC Phoenix. That card takes place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on February 17.
Penne (12–5) will be making her first octagon appearance in over a year at the event. The former title challenger has struggled to make it to the cage with consistency, fighting just once per year since 2015 and missing 2018 entirely. Currently on an 0-3 run that began with her failed bid to claim the 115lb title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Penne has also lost to Jessica Andrade and Danielle Taylor.
Penne is a former Invicta FC atomweight champ, and moved up in weight upon joining the UFC. Her lone UFC win came against Randa Markos in a Fight of the Night effort at the TUF 20 Finale. She also competed as a strawweight earlier in her career, appearing for Bellator MMA and other promotions.
Esquibel (6-4) is a fellow former Invicta FC talent who has lost both her UFC bouts to date. Those defeats came at the hands of Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Aguilar, the latter in her lone fight of 2018 at UFC Boise.
A women’s flyweight bout between Lauren Murphy and Ashlee Evans-Smith is also rumored for the UFC Phoenix card. No main event has been announced as of yet.