Julianna Pena suffers ‘severe’ knee injury, headed to surgery next week

UPDATE:

UFC Tonight revealed that Pena suffered a torn ACL, MCL, LCL, Meniscus and Hamstring and could be out up to two full years.

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Ultimate Fighter 18 winner Julianna Pena has been forced out of her upcoming fight against Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 in Dallas and may be on the sidelines for an extended period of time.

Pena confirmed when speaking with FOX Sports on Wednesday that she suffered ‘a severe knee injury’ that will require her to go under the doctor’s knife next week.

The plan is for Pena to fly to Los Angeles, where she will have the surgery to repair the damage to her knee, and then begin her rehabilitation immediately.  As of now, Pena didn’t know the full extent of the injury that was suffered in her knee, but she believes the injury is fairly serious.

The injury happened during a grappling session with a training partner when her knee locked up on the mat in an exchange and hyper-extended, which caused the knee to buckle underneath her.  Pena said she was ‘devastated’ after the injury occurred, knowing she’d have to drop out of her fight while delaying her run in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.

I tore my ACL and meniscus on the other side and came back to win TUF. I’ll be back stronger than ever I hope.

- Julianna Pena

Unfortunately the injury sidelines Pena for now as she was fresh off the heels of an impressive run through The Ultimate Fighter while being poised for a potential run at the top ten in just a couple of fights.  The Washington native will now have to deal with surgery and time off as she allows her knee to heal before she can get back in the Octagon again.

The full extent of her rehabilitation won’t be determined until she flies from Spokane to Los Angeles to visit with doctors who will perform the surgery before mapping out a rehab schedule for her return to the cage.

As of now, UFC officials have not found a replacement to step in and face Andrade at UFC 171 although former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman volunteered her services after hearing about Pena’s injury.  Whether or not she will get the call remains to be seen.