Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino steps up to salvage UFC 222 card

Updated February 7, 2018 - 6:12 pm

There was a time Cris “Cyborg” Justino was seen as a pariah by UFC officials who consistently butted heads with her and her management over money, weight, marketability, drug testing and just about anything else.

Now she’s being called upon to save a pay-per-view card.

Justino has agreed to put her UFC women’s featherweight belt on the line against Yana Kunitskaya in the main event of UFC 222 on March 3 at T-Mobile Arena.

UFC officials confirmed an MMAFighting.com report on Wednesday night.

The event was left without a headliner when featherweight champ Max Holloway was forced to pull out of a title defense against Frankie Edgar due to a leg injury last week.

Edgar will remain on the card to fight top contender Brian Ortega, UFC officials also announced Wednesday.

Justino had long been considered the best female featherweight in the world when she finally made her UFC debut in May 2016. Her first two fights were at a 140-pound catchweight as she attempted to transition down to 135, an experiment that was quickly abandoned.

The organization finally created a 145-pound division in early 2017, but Justino was unavailable to fight for the title. She earned the belt in July and defended it with a win over Holly Holm in December.

Holm became the first fighter to go the distance with Justino since 2008.

Kunitskaya, a former bantamweight champion in the all-female Invicta FC organization, will be making her UFC debut.

Edgar had hoped to fight for the title, but will settle on a matchup with Ortega, an undefeated top contender.

Ortega is coming off a submission of Cub Swanson in December, his fifth straight stoppage win in the UFC.

Edgar, the former lightweight champion, is 7-2 since dropping to featherweight, with the only losses coming in title bouts against former champ Jose Aldo.

A welterweight bout between Zak Ottow and Las Vegan Mike Pyle was also announced.

UFC 222 also includes a heavyweight bout between Stefan Struve and former champion Andrei Arlovski.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Covering The Cage Videos
Covering The Cage: Live Interview With Elias Theodorou
Covering The Cage host Heidi Fang talks with Elias Theodorou to preview UFC on Fox and becoming a ring boy.
Covering the Cage: Roy Nelson interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about the world of MMA as well as interview heavyweight Roy Nelson.
Covering the Cage: Feb. 6 Facebook Live
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss UFC Fight Night 125 as well as preview UFC 221 and UFC 222.
Covering The Cage: Ronda Rousey joins WWE; UFC on Fox 27 recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss Ronda Rousey’s move to WWE and recap UFC on Fox 27.
Covering the Cage: Jordan Rinaldi, UFC on Fox 27 preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk to fighter Jordan Rinaldi about his upcoming fight and preview the rest of UFC on Fox 27.
Covering The Cage Live: UFC 220 and Bellator 192 Recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap UFC 220 and Bellator 192.
Covering the Cage: Recapping 2017
Heidi Fang and Adam Hill go over their favorite moments of 2017 and pick their favorite fight, knockout and submission of the year.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Recap
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap tonights fights at UFC 219.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Picks
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang give their picks for the main card fights at UFC 219.
Covering The Cage: UFC 219 Preview
Covering the Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang preview UFC 219 including Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm.
UFC 219 media day staredowns
Ahead of UFC 219's pay-per-view on Dec. 30, the stars of the main card faced off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Cris "Cyborg" Justino will face Holly Holm in the main event for the women's featherweight belt.
Covering the Cage: UFC fighter Julian Marquez talks debut victory
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk with UFC fighter Julian Marquez. They discuss the beard competition between Marquez and Tyron Woodley, and the unexpected passing of longtime MMA coach and trainer Robert Follis.
Covering the Cage: Julian Marquez interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about all things going on in the world of MMA and talk to Julian Marquez about his upcoming fight in Winnipeg.
Covering The Cage Live: UFC 218 Recap, TUF 26
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap The Ultimate Fighter 26 and UFC 218.
Covering The Cage: TUF 26 Recap, UFC 218 Preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap The Ultimate Fighter and preview UFC 218.
Covering the Cage: UFC 218, TUF 26 Finale preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang make their picks for the "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 26 Finale and UFC 218. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Covering the Cage: Kyra Batara interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk to Combate Americas Womens Atomweight Kyra Batara about her upcoming fight in San Antonio as well as Conor McGregor's potential incident at a bar and UFC 218.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like