After finding success inside of the Invicta FC cage, Yana Kunitskaya is set to make her UFC debut in the main event of UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Kunitskaya is stepping up on short notice and moving to the women’s featherweight division to take on Cris Cyborg for the title in the main event of the pay-per-view.
“All the years, [I would think of] Cris Cyborg,” Kunitskaya said in an interview with MMAFighting.com. “I was trying to make this fight, starting from Strikeforce then Invicta. Every time, I think almost every fight, I asked for the fight with her. For a long time, I thought it was going to happen.
“I’m happy it’s here.”
The main card of UFC 222 kicks off at 10:00 p.m. ET.
Russian mixed martial artist Yana Kunitskaya made her United States mixed martial arts debut by appearing in the Invicta FC 20 main event against bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger.
Kunitskaya, a vicious striker who entered the bout with seven knockouts to her credit, was a massive underdog as Evinger attempted to extend her win streak to 10.
However, “Foxy” was able to latch on to Evinger’s arm and shock the MMA world with a first-round submission victory to become the new Invicta Fighting Championships bantamweight titleholder.
The 27-year-old former Muay Thai and Taekwondo champion silenced the crowd at Scottish Rite Temple at just one minute and 59 seconds into the fight. Originally a submission (armbar) win for Kunitskaya; the athletic commission overturned the ruling after Evinger appealed the loss due to a controversial referee call and Evinger was re-awarded the title.
In the rematch, Kunitskaya lost via rear-naked choke in the second round. She rebounded with a win over Raquel Pa’aluhi to win the vacant Invicta FC bantamweight championship.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin, Invicta FC