Reports: Lawler vs. ‘Wonderboy’, VanZant vs. Ostovich Targeted for UFC’s Debut Event on ESPN

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 26, 2018

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut event on ESPN appears to be taking shape with a pair of rumored bouts.

According to, a welterweight showdown between ex-champ Robbie Lawler and two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson will take place on Jan. 18 at an as-yet-to-be announced event. However, much hinges on the health of Lawler, who needs to be medically cleared after tearing his ACL in January. “Ruthless” will reportedly meet with his surgeon on Monday.

Meanwhile, a flyweight clash pitting Paige VanZant against Rachael Ostovich is also in the works for the card, per After confirming she had accepted a date for a bout on Twitter, VanZant then rescinded that announcement, claiming she has not yet been medically cleared. Neither bout has been announced by the UFC.

Lawler last appeared at UFC on Fox 26 on Dec. 16, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Rafael dos Anjos. Thompson, meanwhile, is coming off a narrow decision loss to Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 130 on May 27.

VanZant will look to halt a two-bout skid after falling to Jessica Rose-Clark and Michelle Waterson in back-to-back outings. Ostovich is 1-1 in the promotion after suffering a submission defeat to Montana De La Rosa at “The Ultimate Fighter 27” finale.


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