The Ultimate Fighter 18 women’s bantamweight champion Juliana Pena has been forced out of her first bout since the show due to a “severe” knee injury. With Pena out, former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman has lobbied to take her place opposite Jessica Andrade at UFC 171.
MMAJunkie was first to confirm the rumors of Pena’s injury earlier today.
Pena apparently suffered the injury a few days ago and will require surgery on the injured knee. “The Venezuelan Vixen” was looking to make her first appearance since a dominating run en route to winning TUF 18 late last year. Pena has battled knee issues in the past and could face a considerable layoff after this latest setback.
With Pena out, the UFC has already been working to find a replacement for opponent Jessica Andrade. Several bantamweights have lobbied for a shot, including TUF 18 cast member Shayna Baszler, with former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman among them. The former champ tweeted earlier today:
— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) January 29, 2014
Kaufman was last in action at UFC 166, where she lost a razor thin decision to the fast-rising Jessica Eye. Kaufman has won three of her last five and would be a more than viable replacement for the injured Pena.