Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Bantamweight champion, Holly Holm -- currently ranked the No. 1 contender in the division -- will return to the Octagon to fight not Ronda Rousey nor Miesha Tate, but rather Valentina Shevchenko.
That's the curious news from "UFC Tonight," which pegged the likely 135-pound showdown for UFC on FOX 20, a broadcast network-televised event that will take place inside United Center in Chicago, Ill., on July 20, 2016.
Holm has been itching to get back in the cage since her late-round submission loss to Tate at UFC 196. "Preacher's Daughter" controlled a majority of the bout and likely would have earned a decision (see scorecard pic here) if she didn't get strangled unconscious in the fifth and final round. The heart-breaking loss drew the ire of company president Dana White, who was quick to point out that Holm "lost a lot of money" by not waiting for a rematch with Rousey.
Nonetheless, with Tate booked to battle Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 (instead of an immediate rematch), which also features Julianna Pena vs. Cat Zingano, and Rousey on self-imposed hiatus, top-ranked options were apparently slim.
Shevchenko most recently dropped a decision to the aforementioned Nunes at UFC 196. "Bullet" is currently ranked No. 9 alongside Raquel Pennington. She has just one other appearance inside the Octagon, a split decision win over Sarah Kaufman at UFC on FOX 17 in Dec. 2015.
UFC on FOX 20 will also feature a Lightweight showdown between Edson Barboza vs, Gilbert Melendez, an explosive Light Heavyweight showdown between Anthony Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira and much more.