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UFC targeting newcomer Liliya Shakirova to replace Cynthia Calvillo for clash against Lauren Murphy at UFC 254

UFC Fight Night: Eye v Calvillo
UFC Fight Night: Eye v Calvillo
Dhruv Sharma
Modified 16 Oct 2020, 15:05 IST

Former TUF participant Lauren Murphy was left without an opponent at UFC 254 after her scheduled flyweight bout against Cynthia Calvillo had to be scrapped due to the latter testing positive for COVID – 19. UFC is reported to be keen on keeping Murphy on the card and looking to rope in Uzbeki Liliya Shakirova as a possible replacement for Calvillo. Murphy wished a speedy recovery to Calvillo via twitter.

Liliya is 8-1 in her professional MMA career having last fought in October 2019. Having primarily fought in Uzbeki/Russian promotions throughout her career, Liliya won her last bout against Aygul Abduvakhid at GFC 18 event held by the Dagestani promotion Gorilla Fighting Championship. She is set to join a select few names in the UFC women's division not signed from either Strikeforce, Bellator, or Invicta.

The Lauren Murphy – Cynthia Calvillo bout was a much-anticipated affair at a stacked UFC 254 card with major title implications. The winner was expected to be next in line for the Women’s Flyweight Championship and would have been a top pick for many to take on the winner of the Valentina Shevchenko – Jennifer Maia bout at UFC 255.

Calvillo (9-1-1 MMA) (6-1-1 UFC) was on a 4 fight undefeated streak having won her last bout via a dominant decision victory over Jessica Eye in the main event of UFC on ESPN 10.

The number 4 ranked Lauren Murphy, on the other hand, is on a 3 fight win streak having turned around a shaky 2-4 start in the UFC. Her last victory was in June of 2020 via a unanimous decision after a solid performance against fellow TUF 26 contender and tournament finalist Roxanne Modafferi.

It is also interesting to note that Lauren Murphy benefitted from the formation of UFC’s women’s flyweight division having previously fought at Bantamweight. Lauren Murphy is 4-1 at flyweight even after being eliminated in the first round of the TUF 26 tournament which was set to crown the inaugural UFC Women’s Flyweight champion, having been touted as one of the favorites and seeded 3rd.

Whether the Lauren Murphy – Shakirova bout has the same title implications as her bout against Calvillo remains to be seen.

UFC 254 is scheduled for October 24th with a Lightweight Championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje serving as the main event.

Published 16 Oct 2020, 15:05 IST
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