Valentina Shevchenko Pulls out of UFC 251 vs. Joanne Calderwood with Leg Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 08:  Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan celebrates her TKO victory over Katlyn Chookagian in their women's flyweight championship bout during the UFC 247 event at Toyota Center on February 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The main event for UFC 251 is off after Valentina Shevchenko was forced to drop out due to a leg injury, per Marc Raimondi of ESPN.  

She was supposed to defend her UFC women's flyweight title on June 6 against Joanne Calderwood, but the current champion is not fit enough to compete.

Calderwood said she expects the bout to be "pushed back" to a later date when both are healthy.

Shevchenko said she first suffered the injury during her February bout against Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 247. Though the 32-year-old came through with a third-round knockout, she sustained an injury that still hasn't healed properly.

She currently believes she will be healthy by August.

The injury slows momentum for Shevchenko, who has won five matches in a row, including three title defenses after winning the flyweight title.

With wins over the top-two ranked challengers in her weight class, she was set to face the No. 3 flyweight in Calderwood.

This withdrawal is also a blow to another UFC card as Khabib Nurmagomedov may have to withdraw from UFC 249 due to travel restrictions, per ESPN's Ariel Helwani.