Invicta FC bantamweight champion Yana Kunitskaya is ready to leave her belt behind and make the leap to the UFC Octagon.
MMAWeekly.com sources on Thursday confirmed that Kunitskaya would forego defending her Invicta FC title in favor of a bout with Sara McMann at UFC on FOX 28 on Feb. 24 in Orlando, Fla. Kunitskaya and McMann also both posted about the fight on Instagram.
Kunitskaya (10-3, 1NC) won the Invicta FC bantamweight belt after champion Tonya Evinger vacated to fight Cris Cyborg for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 214 in July. Though she defeated Raquel Pa’aluhi to capture the title in Lemoore, Calif., the California State Athletic Commission, under its new weight-management guidelines, later recommended Kunitskaya should not fight again at bantamweight.
She won’t have to worry about the CSAC for the immediate future, however, as Kunitskaya will be facing McMann, another Invicta FC veteran, in Florida, which doesn’t currently follow the same weight-management guidelines as California.
A victory over McMann would catapult Kunitskaya immediately into the thick of title talk.
A silver medalist in wrestling at the 2004 Olympic Games in Atlanta, McMann (11-4) lost her lone UFC title bid to Ronda Rousey in February of 2014. She was recently rocketing back into title contention, but had a three-fight winning streak stopped when Ketlen Vieira choked her into submission at UFC 215 in September of last year.
Although UFC on FOX 28 is also slated to feature a pivotal bout between middleweight contenders Yoel Romero and David Branch, UFC officials have yet to name a headliner for Feb. 24 at the Amway Center.