After over a year away from the sport, Paige VanZant will return to the cage this weekend to face Rachael Ostovich in a flyweight bout at UFC Brooklyn.
VanZant (7-4) has only fought twice in the last two years, dropping a unanimous decision to Jessica-Rose Clark in January of last year, and suffering a first-round submission loss to Michelle Waterson in December 2016. Her inactivity means this fight with Ostovich, in her opinion, is more important than her UFC debut,
“This one is more important, I feel, than any fight. This one is as just as important as my very first fight in the UFC ever.” VanZant told MMA Fighting. “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.”
The fight with Ostovich almost didn’t come to fruition, after the Hawaiian was close to pulling out of the bout due to injuries she sustained in an alleged domestic assault. Despite suffering a broken orbital bone, Ostovich was insistent on fighting on the card.
“It’s an exciting fight for me. She has such a big name within the UFC,” VanZant said. “I think that obviously this is a fight a lot of male fans really like. I’m excited that me and her can go out there and put on a show. I have met her in person and she’s a super, super nice person. So I’m excited we get to share an Octagon together and try to rip each other’s heads off.”
UFC Brooklyn takes place this Saturday night, January 19th, at the Barclays Center in New York. The card is headlined by a UFC flyweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.