History will be made in September as the women will fight on a UFC card in Abu Dhabi for the first time.
Scottish flyweight Joanne Calderwood will face American Andrea Lee, while Liana Jojua squares up against Canada’s Sarah Moras.
It will be Calderwood’s tenth UFC fight when she steps into the Octagon on September 7, with a quick turnaround from her last bout – a controversial points loss to Katlyn Chookagian just last month.
The defeat meant Jojo, who is ranked fifth in the flyweight division, slipped to an overall MMA record of 13-4 – and halted the momentum she has on the back of a couple of impressive wins.
By contrast, opponent Andrea Lee comes into the fight on the back of a seven-fight win streak, with three of those victories in the UFC.
Ranked seventh in the division, Lee will see this as the perfect opportunity to break into the top five, and potentially be a win or two away from the title picture.
Georgian prospect Liana Jojua will be making her UFC debut when she steps into the cage in Abu Dhabi.
The 24-year-old is unbeaten in her last five fights, and has a 7-2 record overall. Something of a submission expert, Jojua has finished five of her seven wins via tap out.
Her opponent Sarah Moras has lost her last three in the UFC, and four of her last five. In 2015 she took current strawweight champ Jessica Andrade the distance, but has failed to establish herself in the division since.
Her last outing in May ended in a TKO defeat to Macy Chiasson.
The rematch between Paul Felder and Edson Barboza has been confirmed as the co-main event for UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
The Brazilian Barboza won via unanimous decision when the two met back in 2015, but this will be a very different prospect.
Back then, Felder was undefeated as a pro, with 10 wins under his belt – but only two of them in the UFC.
Barboza was already a veteran of 12 fights in the Octagon, winning nine of them – including the highlight reel knockout of Terry Etim.
Today he stands on the back of three defeats in his last four – albeit to high level opposition in Justin Gaethje, Kevin Lee and UFC 242 headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Felder, who has now matured into a cerebral fighter as his regular stints on commentary show, has won four of his last five with the only blemish in that run coming against the dangerous Mike Perry.
UFC 242 takes place on September 7 at The Arena, Abu Dhabi, headlined by the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
Jon Jones retained his UFC light-heavyweight crown on a spectacular night of action at UFC239 in Las Vegas.
Jones scored a split-decision win over Brazilian Thiago Santos, but it was elsewhere fireworks flew.
Amanda Nunes notched a TKO victory over Holly Holm, Jorge Masvidal ended Ben Askren with the quickest KO in UFC history and Jan Blachowicz turned the lights out on Luke Rockhold.
Here are the highlights from the T-Mobile Arena.
Jones has too much, just
When Bruce Buffer announced “48-47 Santos” on the first of the scorecards, the MMA world held its collective breath.
As it happened, it was not to be for Thiago Santos but, while he won’t leave Vegas with gold, he certainly offered a puzzle that Jon Jones found more difficult to solve than many of those in past UFC fights.
Both men had extreme respect for the others finishing abilities with neither willing to really put themselves in the firing line to chase the finish.
Santos fought most of the fight with his back to the cage, and was only really able to mount considerable offence in short, powerful bursts. Known for his wild offence, this was a more controlled, technically sound Santos than we had seen previously.
Both men suffered from leg kicks, with Jones taking the brunt early on, but it was Santos who suffered later in the fight with a clear inability to plant properly, restricting offence.
Jones remained a picture of calm, and despite being carried from the cage at the end of the fight due to the leg kicks, he was able to land with consistency, taking the win without ever threatening to finish things.
Nunes the best ever
Amanda Nunes cemented her position as the greatest female fighter in UFC history with a stunning first-round knockout of Holly Holm.
The two-weight world champion, whose bantamweight title was on the line, landed a devastating head kick – a signature of Holm, to turn out the lights on the Preacher’s Daughter.
Nunes, now on a nine-fight win steak including some of the biggest names the sport has seen, including Ronda Rousey and Christiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino, looked confident throughout – at ease on her feet despite facing a multiple-time kickboxing world champion.
The Lioness is now 18-4 and rapidly running out of serious contenders, while Holm falls to 12-5, with all five of those loses coming in the seven fights since she beat Ronda Rousey in 2015. She may be left questioning where she goes from here.
Jorge in FIVE seconds
Jorge Masvidal ended Ben Askren’s unbeaten record in the most spectacular of ways – recording the fastest-ever knockout in UFC history at just five seconds.
Both men had plenty to say coming into the fight but it was over as quickly as it started as Askren ducked for a takedown only to be met by a picture-perfect flying knee. The follow up shots were inconsequential.
Masvidal explained he expected Askren to shoot early and saw the flying knee as a low-risk tactic. He couldn’t have planned it to go any better.
Post-fight Masvidal, now 34-14, called out welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. ‘Gamebred’ may only be 2-2 in his last four UFC fights, but has now finished his last two in spectacular knockout fashion – against Askren, and the highly fancied Darren Till.
The loss is the first of Askren’s 21-fight MMA career.
Questions over the future of Rockhold
Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold had an unsuccessful first outing at light-heavyweight suffering a knockout defeat to Jan Blachowicz.
Rockhold’s chin has been in question at 185 pounds and even though the Polish fighter isn’t known for his heavy hands, he had more than enough in a vicious left to end the American’s night abruptly midway through the second round.
Rockhold had appeared staggered at the end of the first, but had no answer just a couple of minutes later.
Going into the fight Blachowicz was ranked sixth at 205, he improves to 24-8, while Rockhold slips to 16-5 with some serious questions now about his future.
No Nightmare for Chiesa
Michael Chiesa picked up a unanimous decision win over veteran Diego Sanchez in the welterweight division.
Chiesa dominated for long periods taking Nightmare down with relative ease, enjoying top position in the majority of ground exchanges as he improved to 16-4.
Sanchez was rarely able to mount a significant offence and only his experience halted the submission attempts from Chiesa.
On the undercard, there were notable victories for Claudia Gadelha and Arnold Allen.