Taila Santos to Replace Alexa Grasso, Meets Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night 198

By Jay Pettry Oct 8, 2021

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Strictly from a rankings perspective, this change in opponent at the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight division is actually an improvement.

The UFC’s broadcast partner of ESPN announced on Friday that Alexa Grasso will not longer be competing UFC Fight Night 198 for undisclosed reasons. In her stead will be Taila Santos (18-1), who will come to blows with Joanne Calderwood (15-6) at 125 pounds on Nov. 20. While Grasso is the #10 ranked flyweight according to the promotion, Santos is at the #9 spot to Calderwood as the sixth-ranked woman in the division. The two will tangle inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Santos finds herself on a three-fight win streak, with her last victory a decision over Roxanne Modafferi in September to earn this short-notice opportunity. The Brazilian out of Astra Fight Team unsuccessfully debuted with the promotion in 2019, dropping a split decision to Mara Romero Borella to lose for the first time in her career. Santos’ competition on the Brazilian scene was less than stellar, including a run of eight wins with the Aspera FC promotion where those eight opponents totaled for a record of 4-8-1 combined.

“Jojo” has alternated wins and losses in her last six, picking up decisions over Ariane Lipski, Andrea Lee and Jessica Eye on the way. Those wins were interspersed with defeats to future title challengers Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia and Lauren Murphy, with the latter two gaining title shots by beating Calderwood. Making her way to the organization with a flawless 8-0 record through season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the Scottish fighter prevailed under the Invicta Fighting Championships four times to get there.

UFC Fight Night 198 takes place on Nov. 20 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, where Ketlen Vieira squares off with Miesha Tate in the event’s headliner at bantamweight. Like the main event that was rescheduled, the co-featured fight is a once-postponed welterweight pairing between Michael Chiesa and Sean Brady.

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