UFC officials made the announcement as part of its 2017 Summer Kickoff Press Conference on Friday, adding Nunes vs. Shevchenko to the UFC 213 fight card, which is supposed to be headlined by Cody Garbrandt putting his men’s bantamweight belt on the line against TJ Dillashaw.
Although the UFC still announced the Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw bout as the UFC 213 headliner on Friday, shortly before the press conference, Garbrandt cast a huge shadow of doubt over the bout. The champ revealed that he has been dealing with a severe back injury, insinuating that he would be unable to fight as planned.
MMAWeekly.com sources close to the bout indicated that Garbrandt was unlikely to be able to fight.
“Tomorrow, I will be flying to Germany with Danny Castillo to have another procedure done!” wrote Garbrandt. “My health comes first over anything! Once I am (100 percent) healthy and my back can hold up with the intense training I’ll put it through, I’ll line up to defend my title at a later date!! Thank you all for the support!!”
If that fight is nixed, the Nunes vs. Shevchenko fight could grow in stature, possibly taking the headlining spot if it is vacated by the men.
Following her victory over Ronda Rousey in December, Nunes (14-4) had toyed with the idea of moving up to featherweight to capture a second belt, but has foregone that idea to rematch Shevchenko. Nunes defeated Shevchenko by unanimous decision in March of 2016 at UFC 196. She has since defeated Miesha Tate and Rousey, capturing the belt from Tate and defending it against Rousey.
Shevchenko (14-2) has looked fantastic in her two bouts since losing to Nunes. She won a unanimous decision over Holly Holm last summer, and then took out Julianna Peña via submission in January. Now, she’ll be looking to exact a bit of revenge on Nunes, while capturing gold at the same time.
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