The women’s bantamweight title vacated by the now-retired Amanda Nunes will be up for grabs when Mayra Bueno Silva and Raquel Pennington fight at UFC 297 on January 20th in Toronto, Canada.
The 32-year-old Silva gets the nod for title contention despite having had her last win, a submission finish over a former champion in Holly Holm amended to a no-contest after she tested positive for Ritalinic Acid.
Silva was able to show that she was only taking the substance to help treat her ADHD and so was only suspended for 4-and-a-half months.
In total Silva has gone unbeaten in her last four UFC fights, having earned a unanimous decision win over Wu Yanan followed by back-to-back submission finishes against Stephanie Egger and Lina Lansberg, which has taken her to No.3 in the 135lb rankings.
Now she’ll be going up against the 32-year-old Pennington, who had previously fought for the title back in 2018, losing out by TKO against Amanda Nunes.
Pennington struggled for a while after that, but has since returned to form and strung together a five-fight winning streak that’s seen her defeat Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad, Macy Chiasson, Aspen Ladd and most recently Ketlen Vieira.
As things stand UFC 297 doesn’t have a confirmed headliner, though it’s known that the promotion’s intention had been to put on a featherweight title fight between current champion Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuira, though that now depends on whether Volkanovski is fit in time to compete after being KO’d in his recent lightweight title challenge.