UFC Vegas 45 has taken a blow with Julia Avila no longer able to compete.
Sources told MyMMANews that the No. 14 ranked “Raging Panda” has had to pull out of her Dec. 18 bout with Raquel Pennington after suffering a knee injury. It remains to be determined whether or not the UFC will try and find a replacement.
Oklahoma’s Avila, 33, entered the UFC in 2019 after a brief stint with Invicta FC. Instantly making noise at 135-pounds, the Geology expert earned two impressive victories over Pannie Kianzad and Gina Mazany. A setback came in the form of Sijara Eubanks late last year but Avila has since rebounded with a third-round rear-naked choke submission of Julija Stoliarenko in June.
The Pennington (12-8) matchup was a surprising yet exciting step-up in competition for Avila (9-2). An alum of The Ultimate Fighter season 18, Pennington has gone on to challenge for the UFC bantamweight title and hold her ground as a perennial top 10 competitor since. Pennington is 3-1 in her last four outings with wins over the aforementioned Kianzad, Marion Reneau, and Irene Aldana.
The rest of the upcoming UFC Vegas 45 lineup can be seen below.
- Heavyweight – 207-265lbs: Derrick Lewis vs. Chris Daukaus
- Featherweight – 145lbs: Cub Swanson vs. Darren Elkins
- Featherweight: Charles Jourdain vs. Andre Ewell
- Heavyweight: Justin Tafa vs. Harry Hunsucker
- Strawweight – 115lbs: Amanda Lemos vs. Angela Hill
- Middleweight – 185lbs: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
- Heavyweight: Don’Tale Mayes vs. Josh Parisian
- Bantamweight – 135lbs: Raphael Assunção vs. Ricky Simón
- Lightweight – 155lbs: Matt Sayles vs. Jordan Leavitt
- Bantamweight: Raquel Pennington vs. TBD
- Bantamweight: Raoni Barcelos vs. Trevin Jones
- Flyweight – 125lbs: Sijara Eubanks vs. Melissa Gatto
- Lightweight: Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Mateusz Gamrot
- Welterweight – 170lbs: Stephen Thompson vs. Belal Muhammad
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrakeRiggs where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.