Julianna Pena’s misfortune will be her former teammate on The Ultimate Fighter 18’s gain as Raquel Pennington has taken her place against Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 in Dallas on March 15.
UFC officials announced the new matchup on Wednesday.
Pena dropped out of the fight after suffering a ‘severe’ knee injury that will put her in surgery next week. With the Ultimate Fighter 18 winner out of the fight, the UFC opted to take fellow Team Miesha Tate fighter Raquel Pennington over other choices including former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman, who had been asking for the chance to accept the fight.
Pennington (4-3) was one of the favorites to make it to the show’s finale late last year, but fell short in her bid during the semifinals when she lost to Jessica Rakoczy. Pennington still got the call to come to the UFC, however, and made the most of her next bout at the TUF 18 Finale when she bested another Team Tate member, Roxanne Modaferri.
Now the Colorado native will step in to face Brazilian striker Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 in Dallas as part of the undercard to the main event featuring Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler where a new welterweight champion will be crowned.