The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 veteran Raquel Pennington was all set to make a big splash in her Octagon return at the upcoming UFC 181 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Sat., Dec. 6, 2014, inside Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Then her original opponent, boxing import Holly Holm, went down with a neck injury and poof, just like that, "Rocky" was bounced from the PPV main card and paired off against the unheralded Ashlee Evans-Smith on the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims."
From her conversation with UFC.com:
"There was a little disappointment and it was a little frustrating because I was training for this girl who's a boxer and a stand-up fighter who has this huge hype train behind her. I felt like a part of me lost focus for a couple days. Me and my coach had a long talk - he said ‘go home, take a couple days, come back refreshed and we're going to continue to fight and train for this.' A fight's a fight and I want to fight everybody. Every girl brings a new challenge to the table and I don't want to take away from anybody, especially with what we do, but it was a bit frustrating to go from the main card to a prelim fight, and everything changed because of the two different opponents. But hey, I'm still fighting on the big show and I still get to put all my hard work to use and show it off that night."
Their bantamweight scrap kicks off the FOX Sports 1 telecast.
While her mixed martial arts (MMA) record isn't exactly the stuff of legend, Pennington (4-4) has an iron chin and the benefit of already competing twice inside the world-famous Octagon. Evans-Smith (3-0) is perhaps best known for smashing transgender fighter Fallon Fox back in 2013.
See who else is fighting at UFC 181 right here.