UFC may be a step closer to making Fight Island a reality as it is being reported that fan-favorite Paige VanZant is scheduled to face surging Brazilian contender Amanda Ribas on July 11.
The inaugural event on “Fight Island” may have it’s first fight as fan-favorite Paige VanZant is targeted for a match-up with Brazil’s Amanda Ribas. First reported by Combate and later MMAFighting.com, the two are expected to meet on July 11 on a card that is anticipated to be the first event on the private island reserved by Dana White to get fighters outside of the United States back into competition.
The two were previously set to fight on March 14 at UFC Brasilia but VanZant was forced to withdraw due to injury. The event in Brazil was set to be VanZant’s return to 115 pounds, but the latest booking will see the two women compete at the flyweight limit of 125 pounds.
VanZant (8-4) has not fought since January of 2019, where she had one of the best performances of her career in submitting Rachel Ostovich in the second round of the inaugural event on ESPN+. Notably, the 26 year old VanZant is on the final fight of her contract and has already expressed her desire to test her value on the free agent market for the first time since entering the UFC in 2014. With her vast social media presence, bolstered by crossover appearances on Dancing with the Stars and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, VanZant is expected to field several offers from different promotions.
Ribas (9-1) has kicked off her UFC career with a strong start with victories over Emily Whitmere, Mackenzie Dern, and Randa Markos in the past year, with the victory over Markos back in March catapulting her into the rankings. Ribas will also go into the fight carrying the experience of having fought in front of no crowd as UFC Brasilia was the first event to take place without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the event, she stoked the fire to re-book the match-up with VanZant by expressing that it was the fight she still wanted.
No location for “Fight Island” has been given yet, although UFC President Dana White has maintained that the promotion is still going forward with building infrastructure and making fights on the island a reality. In favor of the fights taking place on the island is the fact that Ribas is located in Brazil, where international into the United States is still prohibited.