UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko’s next planned title defense has been derailed by an undisclosed injury. Shevchenko, 32, was supposed to take on 125-pound contender Joanne Calderwood on June 6 at UFC 251 in Perth, Australia.
But per MMA Junkie’s Danny Segura, Shevchenko’s title defense “is on hold because of an undisclosed injury, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity since the UFC has yet to make an announcement. The fight is expected to be rescheduled, although a date to rebook hasn’t been set.”
In her last fight, Shevchenko scored a dominant second-round stoppage win over Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247 in February. That stunning performance was Shevchenko’s fifth straight win since moving down to the flyweight division from bantamweight in 2018 and marked her third straight defense of the UFC women’s flyweight title.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Calderwood ‘Got Word Last Week’ Fight Was Being Postponed
Neither Shevchenko or the UFC has officially released information about the fighter’s injury just yet, but Shevchenko’s opponent Calderwood had already indicated on Tuesday that her upcoming fight for the title at UFC 251 was being rebooked for later in the year.
“We got word last week that it’s going to get pushed back,” Calderwood said per MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll. “Not because of this whole (coronavirus pandemic), but something on her end.”
Calderwood also wasn’t sure she should have been the one to break the news, but the 33-year-old Scottish athlete went ahead and did so anyway.
“I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say that, but we know for sure that it’s not going to be on June 6,” Calderwood said per MMA Fighting. “I don’t know, I’m not sure what happened or what’s what, but it’s been pushed back. It could be a blessing in disguise.”
Per the MMA Junkie report, Calderwood also revealed in an Instagram Live video that she hoped the fight could be rebooked in either July or August.
What Fights Will be Scheduled for UFC 251?
Schevchenko’s injury was just the latest setback for the upcoming UFC 251 card scheduled for June 6 in Perth.
Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic was already greatly complicating the UFC’s plans for putting together their standard pay-per-view cards. But now it seems as if putting together a viable UFC PPV event at that location in June at all will be even more challenging than previously thought.
After all, UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski also revealed this week to ESPN that he wasn’t going to fight at UFC 251 on June 6 due to the complications he experienced recovering from his hand injury.
His rematch against Max Holloway was seemingly on its way to being the main event of UFC 251 with Shevchenko’s title defense against Calderwood filling in as the co-main event on the card.
As of right now, it appears UFC 251 doesn’t have either of the top spots billed.