Jessica Andrade vs Raquel Pennington fight set for UFC 171 with Julianna Pena sustaining severe knee injury

Julianna Pena - Esther Lin

Julianna Pena has been forced to withdraw from her upcoming bout at UFC 171 because of a devastating knee injury. Raquel Pennington has been tapped to serve as her replacement, taking on Jessica Andrade in "The Lone Star" state on little more than six weeks notice.

Shorty after winning The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale, Julianna Pena was booked to battle Jessica Andrade at UFC 171, which will air on pay-per-view (PPV) from American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on March 15, 2014.

The promising mixed martial arts (MMA) future for "Venezuelan Vixen," however, has been put on hold indefinitely. That's because Pena suffered a severe knee injury while grappling in training that will require surgery to repair, according to MMAFighting.com.

The first-ever female TUF champion will likely face a long road back to the Octagon because structural injuries like this take a long time to heal and rehabilitate (just ask Dominick Cruz)

Meanwhile, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has moved fast, ignoring former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman's pleas on Twitter, and instead booking Pena's TUF 18 teammate, Raquel Pennington, to replace Pena. Pennington is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Roxanne Modafferi at TUF 18 Finale back in Nov. 2013.

Not bad.

UFC 171 features the highly anticipated welterweight match-up of Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler in the main event of the evening.

In the co-main event, former interim 170-pound champion, Carlos Condit, will look to knock off surging and hungry division contender, Tyron Woodley. To check out the latest UFC 171 fight card and rumors click here.

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