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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship title challenger Roxanne Modafferi will go from one rising talent to another in September.
Modafferi (25-18) was linked to a bout with Tatiana Suarez at flyweight at UFC 266 on Sept. 25, but Suarez was forced out due to a knee injury. In her stead, per ESPN on Thursday, will be the once-beaten Taila Santos (17-1). The two flyweights will step inside the cage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on the pay-per-view prelims.
Syndicate MMA standout Modafferi has alternated wins and losses in her last nine since returning to the UFC in 2017. Ultimately falling short to Nicco Montano for the inaugural flyweight strap in her second season on “The Ultimate Fighter,” “The Happy Warrior” has gone the distance in seven of eight since the Montano fight. The lone stoppage in that stretch came when she battered Barb Honchak with elbows. Modafferi has perennially kept herself in the rankings picture with wins over names like Andrea Lee and Maycee Barber.
Since making her unsuccessful promotional debut in 2019, where she dropped a split decision to Mara Romero Borella, she has since prevailed over Molly McCann and Gillian Robertson. Across her 14 wins leading up to her appearance on Dana White's Contender Series, Santos only defeated four women with winning records while earning 13 finishes. On the major stage, she has gone the distance in all four bouts.
UFC 266 will go down on Sept. 25 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with a championship doubleheader capping off the pay-per-view. Headlining the card is a long-awaited featherweight title fight and TUF 29 coaches’ battle between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. The co-main event sees Valentina Shevchenko look to defend her flyweight belt against Lauren Murphy. Other bouts on the main card include a five-round excursion between Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz, while Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik throw down at heavyweight.