Valentina Shevchenko Withdraws from Title Defense vs. Joanne Calderwood at UFC 251

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 31, 2020


Valentina Shevchenko’s next title defense has been put on hold.

According to a report from ESPN, a leg injury has forced the reigning flyweight champion to withdraw from a scheduled clash with Joanne Calderwood at UFC 251 in Perth, Australia, on June 6. Shevchenko injured the leg in her victory over Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247, and the ailment hasn’t properly healed.

The contest is expected to be rescheduled at a later date. However, all fight bookings are tentative due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The UFC has not made an announcement regarding the bout. Shevchenko vs. Calderwood was slated as the co-headliner for UFC 251.

Calderwood confirmed that fight has been postponed in an interview with MMAFighting.com on Tuesday.

“We got word last week that it’s going to get pushed back,” Calderwood said. “Not because of this whole (coronavirus pandemic), but something on her end. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say that, but we know for sure that it’s not going to be on June 6. I don’t know, I’m not sure what happened or what’s what, but it’s been pushed back. It could be a blessing in disguise.”

Shevchenko claimed the vacant 125-pound belt with a five-round verdict over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 and has since defended the crown with convincing victories against Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche and Chookagian. “Bullet’s” only two losses in 10 UFC appearances have come at the hands of two-division queen Amanda Nunes.

Calderwood, meanwhile, earned a title shot by winning three of her last four UFC bouts. Most recently, the Scottish fighter edged contender Andrea Lee via split decision at UFC 242.

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