UFC 222 saved with announcements of Frankie Edgar v. Brian Ortega and Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Once in doubt of being cancelled, UFC 222 is back on it’s feet thanks to a few huge additions
What a difference a few days make. After it was announced that the Featherweight Championship bout between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar was cancelled due to the former getting injured, many thought UFC 222 couldn’t be salvaged. Well, the MMA Gods work in mysterious ways. A new main event has been announced in Cris Cyborg defending her Women’s Featherweight Title against Yana Kunitskaya. Frankie Edgar is now in the co-main event, facing Brian Ortega.
After MMA Fighting first reported the news, UFC President Dana White made the official announcement on FS2’s “UFC Tonight” program. UFC 222 is scheduled for March 2nd inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Frankie Edgar (22-5-1) may have been dissapointed in losing his chance at a title, but he has been dying for a fight. UFC 222 will be the first time he has fought since May of 2017, when he defeated Yair Rodriguez at UFC 211. The New Jersey native is on a two-fight win streak and has won seven of his last eight fights.
“The Answer” will have a tall challenge ahead of him in the form of Brian Ortega. “T-City” (13-0 (1)) is looser, as he last fought in December in a win against Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 123. While Edgar was considered the true contender, a win by either of these men could result in a title fight.
On the other side, Cris Cyborg (19-1(1)) will look to save this card from extinction. She is set to prove the featherweight division belongs to her. After successfully defending her Featherweight Title against Holly Holm, Cyborg will face Kunitskaya (10-3), who is making her UFC debut. Yana’s only bouts in Invicta ended via the following: A win turned into a no contest, a loss and a win. The no contest was after she won the Invicta FC Bantamweight Title from Tonya Evinger, but the call was later overturned. This will be Yana’s debut at 145 pounds.
Is this necessarily a fair fight? No. Valentina Shevchenko’s mauling of Priscila Cachoeira at UFC Fight Night 125 proves that. Unlike Cachoeira, Yana might be a challenge that Cyborg will have to work hard against. That is especially true considering the fight will be taking place under short notice. If this turns out to be a competitive bout, we can expect the proposed superfight between Cyborg and Nunes won’t be taking place at UFC 226.
Once considered DOA, UFC 222 has a chance at redemption. Several fighters have stepped up for the promotion. Let’s hope it all pays off for everyone involved.