Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann off UFC Fight Island 7, now set for UFC 257


Julianna Pena will try to make weight at the UFC on FOX 23 weigh-ins Friday afternoon.
Julianna Pena will try to make weight at the UFC on FOX 23 weigh-ins Friday afternoon. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Veteran bantamweights Sara McMann and Julianna Pena were scheduled to face off at UFC Fight Island 7, but they will now fight one week later at UFC 257.

Multiple people with knowledge of the move confirmed the news to MMA Fighting after an initial report from MMA Junkie. The reason for the shift was not disclosed. UFC 257 takes place Jan. 23 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

McMann and Pena approach the bout from opposite sides of the resume. One-time title challenger McMann most recently outpointed Lina Lansberg at UFC Raleigh, while Pena was choked out by two-time title challenger Germaine de Randamie in her most recent outing at UFC Fight Island 4.

Both competitors come from a wrestling background, but Olympic silver medalist McMann carries the trump card when it comes to credentials. Still, both have struggled to build momentum toward a title shot after critical losses, with McMann 5-4 since a title setback to now former champ Ronda Rousey and Pena 1-2 over three years since a submission loss to current flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.

UFC 257 is headlined by a rematch between former champs Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

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