The UFC has finalized a massive flyweight fight for February. MMA Fighting was the first to report this morning that former title challenger Taila Santos (19-2) will be taking on Erin Blanchfield (10-1). This is likely going to determine the next flyweight title challenger in the summer.
Back at UFC 275, Taila Santos took on Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title. While most didn’t give her a chance, Santos entered the bout with a ton of confidence and that played out in during the fight. Santos was able to use her grappling to stifle the champion.
After an accidental clash of heads, Santos suffered a broken orbital bone. That impacted the latter half of the fight and Shevchenko went on to win a split decision to retain her title. The loss snapped a four-fight winning streak for Santos. She was hoping for an immediate rematch, but she will have to take a title eliminator instead.
UFC title shot on the line?
In her fourth professional fight in Invicta, Erin Blanchfield lost a split decision to Tracy Cortez. Since that loss, Blanchfield hasn’t just been perfect, she’s been dominant. The last time we saw her was at UFC 281 when she took on the surging Molly McCann.
Despite McCann’s popularity, Blanchfield was a huge betting favorite. It showed as soon as the fight started. Blanchfield was able to get the fight to the ground and she had her way with McCann before submitting her. This is a massive step up in competition, but the 23-year-old looks ready for this.
Valentina Shevchenko is likely looking at a title defense in the spring. My guess is that whoever wins this fight will fight her either in the later summer months or early fall for the UFC flyweight title.