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UFC 251 title fight on hold, Shevchenko vs. Calderwood ‘pushed back’

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According to Joanne Calderwood, she’s still going to be fighting Valentina Shevchenko, just not at UFC 251. But, it’s not because of the coronavirus pandemic. Reports are that the champ is injured.

UFC 247 Jones v Reyes: Weigh-Ins Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Just because the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the 2020 MMA schedule doesn’t mean that more standard MMA weirdness can’t also be afoot. Because apparently it’s not COVID-19 concerns behind the latest cancellation in the UFC schedule but, as MMA Junkie reports, an injury to flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko that’s put the planned main event of UFC 251 on ice. No word yet as to just what that injury might be.

Title challenger Joanne Calderwood, didn’t give many details, but was the first one to break the news about the delay of her fight on a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“We got word last week that it’s going to get pushed back,” Calderwood said of her planned June bout against Shevchenko.

“Not because of this whole thing, but something on her end. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say that, but we know for sure that it’s not going to be on June 6. I don’t know, I’m not sure what happened or what’s what, but it’s been pushed back. It could be a blessing in disguise.”

Calderwood (14-4) got her chance to pick up UFC gold coming off a narrow split decision win over Andrea Lee at UFC 242 back in August of last year. That win provided a fast bounce-back from her June loss to Katlyn Chookagian, who fought Shevchenko for the belt in February—losing by third round TKO.

For Shevchenko, the queen of the 125 lb weight class is unbeaten since dropping from the bantamweight division off a contentious split decision loss to Amanda Nunes in 2017. She’s racked up five straight wins now at flyweight, including three title defenses, after winning the vacant title in a 2018 decision over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Stay tuned for more UFC schedule updates as 2020 continues to be a wild world for MMA’s largest promotion.