Manon Fiorot was in need of a new opponent for UFC Vegas 28 on Saturday night and she got one in undefeated prospect and promotional newcomer, Tabatha Ricci.
Fiorot was expected to meet Maryna Moroz in a flyweight fight, but the latter was forced to the withdraw just days before the event. Ricci then stepped in as the short-notice replacement for Moroz, who has not revealed the reason behind her withdrawal at this time. Farah Hannoun and Nolan King of MMA Junkie first reported the change on Wednesday afternoon and it was later confirmed by the UFC on social media.
Fiorot also confirmed the change on her social media accounts.
Fiorot made her promotional debut earlier this year at UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Magny, where she earned a second-round technical knockout over Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner, Victoria Leonardo. Prior to that finish, Fiorot rebounded from her only professional loss thus far and finished all but one of her fights while competing for other promotions such as EFC and UAE Warriors.
Ricci returned to mixed martial arts competition last year and signed a multi-fight deal with Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) in June 2020. She debuted at LFA 90 and defeated Kelsey Arnesen by unanimous decision. Her next fights would be shorter than her previous one as Ricci submitted Vanessa Maria Grimes and knocked out Shawna Ormsby at LFA 98 and LFA 105 respectively.
The Brazilian is well-known for her judo and jiu-jitsu prowess, much like her longtime training partner and current UFC fighter, Mackenzie Dern. She usually competes in the strawweight division, but will be moving up a weight class for the fight with Fiorot.
UFC Vegas 28 moves forward with 14 fights and will be headlined by a heavyweight contest between No. 6 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik and No. 9 ranked Augusto Sakai.