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An unbeaten prospect is stepping up on short notice to join the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Jessica Penne (12-5) was originally set to face Hannah Goldy (5-1) at UFC 260 in March, but Goldy fell out of her bout after testing positive for COVID-19. The match was pushed to UFC on ESPN 22 on April 17, but according to MMA Junkie on Thursday, Goldy will not be competing on this event either for undisclosed reasons. In her stead will be newcomer Lupita Godinez (5-0), who will be making her promotional debut at strawweight. Godinez confirmed her signing later in the day on her Instagram.
Undefeated as a pro, Godinez captured the Legacy Fighting Alliance 115-pound crown in a thriller against Crystal Vanessa Demopoulos at LFA 94 in 2020. The Mexican fighter out of Canada fighter made her way to the LFA with victories in promotions like Sparta Combat League and Combate Americas. “Loopy” has gone the distance in four of her five career bouts.
Penne is still looking to make her first appearance in the Octagon since 2017. A four-year ban for synthetic steroids kept her on the shelf since then, although the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reduced that time to 20 months when she was able to prove the substances were not taken to gain a competitive advantage. With just one win dating back to 2014, Penne lost a title fight to Joanna Jedrzejczyk before losing to Jessica Andrade and Danielle Taylor in subsequent years. Unlike her opponent, the former Invicta Fighting Championships champ maintains a career finish rate of 75 percent.
UFC on ESPN 22 goes down at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on April 17, with a middleweight headliner on tap as Robert Whittaker finally takes on Kelvin Gastelum in a bout years in the making. Other highly billed bouts on the card include a lightweight banger between Jeremy Stephens and Drakkar Klose, and a heavyweight rumble between Alexander Romanov and Juan Espino. Additionally, a past report from French outlet L’Equipe stating that Zarah Fairn dos Santos will be dropping down to bantamweight to face Josiane Nunes de Lima has been confirmed by the latter on her social media.