The UFC has chosen Joanna Jedrzejczyk's first title challenger: former Invicta FC atomweight champion Jessica Penne. The news was announced Friday morning by the UFC on Twitter.
The fight is booked as the new headliner for June's UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin, Germany. The previous main event, a light heavyweight bout between former contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira, fell apart due to an injury sustained by the Mauler.
Jedrzejczyk's championship rise was sudden and surprising. Overlooked in comparison to imported Invicta FC fighters, Jedrzejczyk garnered attention by lighting up Juliana Lima in her UFC debut. From there, she scored a huge upset over the at-the-time undefeated Claudia Gadelha to earn a title shot. She made the most of it, starching Carla Esparza to become the UFC's new strawweight champion.
Penne, a fighter who has been present for several major women's MMA milestones, is an interesting opponent for Jedrzejczyk. A veteran of Bellator MMA's Season 3 Women's Strawweight Tournament who went on to become Invicta FC's inaugural atomweight champion, Penne has beaten steadily formidable competition with her strong submission attack. She appeared on The Ultimate Fighter season 20, defeating Lisa Ellis and Aisling Daly before falling to Carla Esparza in the semi-finals, but would bounce back with a win in the Finale over fellow semi-finalist Randa Markos.
Jedrzejczyk will likely open as a big favorite in this bout and rightly so. Penne, in spite of her skills, is an undersized strawweight competing against one of the most physically powerful fighters in the division. With her surprisingly solid takedown defense and knockout power, this is a tall order for Penne.
So how do you see this one going, MMA fans?