WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/16: Paige VanZant out to make a statement in Brooklyn, Thompson vs. Pettis possible for March, Holm wants shot at Nunes, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Paige VanZant (photo credit Anne-Marie Sorvin © USA Today Sports)

Don’t sleep on PVZ

Paige VanZant knows that her back is against the wall when it comes to her fight with Rachael Ostovich this weekend. VanZant has been out of action for about a year now and hasn’t won a fight since an impressive switch kick knockout of Bec Rawlings back in August 2016. Once considered one of UFC’s golden children and poised for big things, VanZant has struggled to gain any footing in either the UFC strawweight or flyweight divisions. It is with all of this in mind that VanZant knows the importance of this fight.

“This one is more important, I feel, than any fight,” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “This one is as just as important as my very first fight in the UFC ever. I need to show everybody who I am and why I belong in the UFC. I feel like fighting is a career where athletes are easily forgotten. If you’re not in front of the crowds, then people don’t remember your name. I’ve been out for a year and I still have those fans who have stuck by me. But I need to show everybody and the new fans of the UFC why I belong there. I feel like this is the fight I have to prove myself with.”

VanZant also said the time away has helped her rediscover her love for MMA and focus on technique. She said she has learned that she needs to “go back to the basics” if she is to be successful against Ostovich. She also thinks that she is still destined for the MMA stardom UFC had her pegged for when she was brought in.

“I knew this was my card — I was meant to fight on the first ESPN card,” she said. “It’s monumental. It’s huge. ESPN is the biggest sports network in the world. When you think of sports, you think of ESPN. I want to be the face of ESPN and I hope that me fighting on this card will help solidify and help prove that I belong on this network.”

‘Wonderboy’ vs. ‘Showtime’ pegged for March ESPN+ card

ESPN is reporting that the rumored move to welterweight for Anthony Pettis to take on Stephen Thompson is in the works for the March 23 card from Nashville. Pettis has spent most of his career at lightweight, capturing the UFC championship in 2013. He dabbled in a run at featherweight that culminated in an interim title fight with Max Holloway, but the cut proved to be too much. Pettis now seems poised to fight 25 pounds heavier than that to take on the former title challenger, Thompson.

Holm looking towards Nunes after UFC 235

Holly Holm is focused on her upcoming fight with Aspen Ladd at UFC 235 in March, but that hasn’t stopped her from charting out her course for what comes next.

“I’m going to have this fight with Aspen Ladd and we’ll see what happens going forward,” Holm told MMAJunkie. “There’s always short goals and long goals. Yes, I would love to be able to fight with Nunes. It’s one of the things that could happen. I’m just 100 percent into Aspen Ladd right now.”

Holm is probably the most notable fight that Nunes hasn’t had in her career that has seen her hold the UFC 135 and 145 titles simultaneously. Holm didn’t indicate which weight class she would like to fight Nunes at, but she does recognize that Cris Cyborg may be next in line for a featherweight shot before she gets her crack.

“She deserves a rematch for being somebody in a dominant position like that for so long getting knocked out? Yes, they absolutely deserve a rematch.”

Wednesday Notebook

-Elizeu Zaleski will fight Curtis Millender at UFC Wichita on March 9.

In case you missed it

ROUNDTABLE: Should UFC continue with the men’s flyweight division after Cejudo vs. Dillashaw?

NEW PODCAST: MMA Scope with Cole Henry and Patrick Shaheen discussing UFC on ESPN+, Greg Hardy, Nate Diaz, Cormier-Miocic II and more

Fight of the Day



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.