The UFC’s May 20 event at the UFC Apex now has a confirmed main event, as two of the leading contenders in the women’s bantamweight division are set to go head-to-head for the second time.
Former title challenger Raquel Pennington and fellow contender Irene Aldana will throw down in a women’s bantamweight rematch in the headliner, with the bout potentially acting as a championship eliminator for the 135-pound division.
Pennington edged a split-decision verdict over Aldana in their first meeting back at UFC San Antonio in July 2019. After that victory, she lost a decision to Holly Holm, but then hit form. Now she heads into the rematch with Aldana riding a five-fight win streak, with victories over Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad, Macy Chiasson, Aspen Ladd and Ketlen Vieira.
Similarly, Aldana’s only loss since her first meeting with Pennington came against Holm. But, sandwiching that October 2020 loss are four impressive victories, with wins over Vanessa Melo, Ketlen Vieira, Yana Kunitskaya and Macy Chiasson contributing to a run of four wins from her last five outings. Additionally, her last three wins have all come via knockout or TKO.
With both Pennington and Aldana in form and eyeing a shot at the bantamweight title, their bout at the UFC Apex could propel the winner into a title shot in their next outing.
Also set for May 20 is a middleweight clash between Edmen Shahbazyan and Anthony Hernandez.
Shahbazyan suffered his first career losses in 2020 and 2021 when he fell to a three-fight skid with losses to Derek Brunson, Jack Hermansson and Nassourdine Imavov. But he bounced back to winning form in December 2022 with a TKO victory over Dalcha Lungiambula at UFC 282.
He’ll move on to take on Hernandez, who heads into the bout riding a three-fight win streak, with victories over Rodolfo Vieira, Josh Fremd and Marc-Andre Barriault.
Also included on the 10-fight lineup is a welterweight clash between Andre Fialho and Joaquin Buckley, while lightweight veterans Diego Ferreira and Michael Johnson are set to face off.
Former UFC women’s strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz is also set for action against Vanessa Demopoulos.
UFC Vegas 73: Confirmed bouts
- Raquel Pennington vs. Irene Aldana
- Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Anthony Hernandez
- Ilir Latifi vs. Rodrigo Nascimento
- Orion Cosce vs. Gilbert Urbina
- Andre Fialho vs. Joaquin Buckley
- Diego Ferreira vs. Michael Johnson
- Maheshate vs. Viacheslav Borshchev
- Chase Hooper vs. Nick Fiore
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Vanessa Demopoulos
- Natalia Silva vs. Victoria Leonardo