Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich booked for UFC on ESPN+ 1 in Brooklyn
That “built-up energy and aggression” that Paige VanZant possesses because of a long layoff? She’ll soon be able to release it.
On Tuesday, a UFC official confirmed to Newsday that VanZant will make her return to the octagon in a flyweight bout against Rachael Ostovich on at UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Jan. 18 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. MMAjunkie had previously reported back in August that the fight was in the works.
VanZant, 24, suffered a broken right arm in her unanimous-decision loss to Jessica-Rose Clark at UFC Fight Night 124 in January. She had surgery shortly after, but months later it was discovered the healing process didn’t go well. VanZant underwent a second procedure on July 19.
It will have been a full year without competing for VanZant, who has struggled to remain an active fighter. After opening her professional career with eight bouts from 2012 to 2015, VanZant has fought just three times in the last two years, missing all of 2017.
VanZant last month explained to MMAjunkie last month just how frustrating it’s been having her MMA career be at a standstill for so long.
“This (layoff) was different because it wasn’t by choice,” VanZant said. “And having something this important taken away from you. And be told that you kind of just have to sit and watch is awful. And what made it even worse is I kind of anticipated like a typical surgery and a typical timeline for that. I thought I would be back training in eight weeks, and it’s been nine months.
“And two surgeries and then hip surgery that will help, like, fix the arm. So it’s been a very long process that I didn’t anticipate having to go through.”
Ostovich (4-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), 27, was a contestant last year on “The Ultimate Fighter 26.” She has split her first two fights in the UFC, most recently losing to Montana De La Rosa in July at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale.
A UFC official also confirmed a second fight for the event to Newsday as Belal Muhammad will meet Geoff Neal in a welterweight bout. Both fighters will look to add to their respective four-fight winning streaks.
Muhammad (14-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), 30, most recently won a unanimous decision over Chance Rencountre in June. Neal (10-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC), 28, meanwhile, knocked out Frank Camacho in September.
The current UFC on ESPN+ 1 lineup includes:
- Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich
- Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal