Earlier today, news broke that top bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira had been removed from her August 8 bout with Yana Kunitskaya for unknown reasons. Just hours later, the promotion found a savior in Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-2), Invicta FC‘s current 135-pound champion.
You may recognize Stoliarenko from the reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), where the Lithuanian battled hard until an eventual defeat in the semi-finals on season 28.
Despite coming up short on TUF she made her debut on the season’s finale, losing a split decision to fellow castmate Leah Letson. Since then she has amassed a five-fight win streak, with four of those wins coming by way of armbar.
In her most recent outing, she captured Invicta’s bantamweight crown after a five-round slugfest with Lisa Verzosa, where both ladies contributed an unhealthy amount of blood to the canvas. The fight – which represented that of a horror film – left fans with a newfound respect for both competitors.
Her return to the world’s premier MMA organization is not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as she’ll be paired with the No. 8 ranked Kunitskaya. Facing a fighter of Kunitskaya’s caliber is a stiff task as it is let alone on just over a week’s notice.
This will likely be your classic striker vs. grappler showdown; Kunitskaya will prefer to keep the bout at range and piece her opponent up with kicks and straight punches, whereas Stoliarenko will be seeking her ninth career armbar win.
It is currently unknown whether the fight will be contested on the main card or preliminary portion of the event.
The event itself takes place at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be headlined by a heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis and veteran submission ace Alexey Oleinik.