Per sources, flyweight Antonina Shevchenko's (@AntoninaPantera) opponent at The Ultimate Fighter Finale on 11/30 has changed. Ashlee Evans Smith has suffered an injury. South Korean Ji Yeon Kim (2-1in the UFC) will fill in.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 8, 2018
An injury to a flyweight contender briefly shook up “The Ultimate Fighter” 28 Finale on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas, but the promotion has already secured a replacement to salvage the matchup.
According to ESPN, flyweight Ashlee Evans-Smith has been forced to withdraw from her bout against Antonina Shevchenko due to an injury. Replacing her on short notice will be Ji Yeon Kim.
Starting her career at featherweight, Evans-Smith spent most of her career at bantamweight before dropping down to flyweight, where she made her successful debut at the weight class by beating Bec Rawlings by decision this past April. Evans-Smith also holds a win over current “TUF 28” competitor Marciea Allen at WSOF 10 in 2014.
Replacing Evans-Smith will be Kim, who dropped down to flyweight this year following her decision loss to Lucie Pudilova. The move has largely proven successful, with “Fire Fist” earning back-to-back split decision victories over Justine Kish and Melinda Fabian.
Kim will be facing Shevchenko, older sister of flyweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko, who will be making her Octagon debut. Undefeated in six bouts, “Pantera” made her own successful drop down to flyweight on Episode 11 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, where she knocked out Jaimelene Nievara with knees in the second round. The victory in the main event of that episode earned the Tiger Muay Thai standout an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract for her efforts.
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 28 Finale will take place on Nov. 30, headlined by a welterweight bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman.