Number one flyweight contender Joanne Calderwood will be fighting Jennifer Maia on August 1, risking her shot at the title by replacing Viviane Araujo.
On Monday evening, news broke (later confirmed by MMAFighting) that incumbent flyweight tile challenger Joanne Calderwood would be stepping in to face Jennifer Maia at UFC on ESPN+ 33 on August 1. She steps in for Viviane Araujo who is out of the bout after testing positive for COVID-19.
By all accounts, Calderwood was expected to be the next challenger for the title when current champion Valentina Shevchenko returned to action. The two were scheduled to meet on June 6 in Perth, Australia but Shevchenko was forced to withdraw, citing a leg injury suffered during her last title defense in March that had not fully healed as the reason. Currently, no timetable has been given for the champion to return. Calderwood has not fought since last September where she defeated Andrea Lee. The Scotswoman is 3-1 in her last four with wins over Lee, Ariane Lipski, and Kalindra Faria. Her only loss was against recent title challenger Katlyn Chookagian last year.
Jennifer Maia is 2-2 in the UFC, with wins against Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi and losses to Chookagian and Liz Carmouche. A former Invicta champion, Maia went 15-4 prior to coming to the UFC in a run that included two defenses of her title as well as a victory over future UFC champion Jessica Andrade back in their native Brazil. More recently, Maia has come under criticism after missing weight twice for consecutive bouts.
The main event on August 1 will feature former champion Holly Holm against rising contender Irene Aldana at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas in what will be the UFC’s first event back in Nevada after four consecutive events on Fight Island.