Lupita Godinez stepped in as a last-minute replacement to face Jessica Penne in a women's strawweight bout at UFC Vegas 24. While Godinez lost the bout via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), she certainly put up a performance with her 'powerbomb' of Jessica Penne in the last round.
'Loopy' got the call from the UFC after capturing the LFA strawweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Contender Series alum Vanessa Demopolous at LFA 94. Lupita Godinez left her home a day after getting a call and headed out to Denver to train with Elevation Fight Team ahead of the bout. Jessica Penne, on the other hand, emerged victorious in her return to the octagon after a hiatus of around four years.
Lupita Godinez entered as a favorite
Lupita Godinez entered her octagon debut against Jessica Penne as a heavy favorite. As Godinez faced the former UFC title challenger and Invicta FC champion, many betting sites had her as a three-to-one favorite. Not surprised by the odds, Lupita Godinez told MMA Junkie:
"It doesn’t surprise me given the last fight that I had and the fact that (Penne) hasn’t fought in many years, so I think people are not really sure what to expect from her. I’m mostly thankful for all the people that believe in me and that have been following me since I started and the fans and everyone. I’m relaxed, that doesn’t affect me at all. Obviously, it excites me and motivates me, but this is a fight and anything can happen. I’m not much of a betting person, but I appreciate that people are believing in me.”
Jessica Penne was suspended by USADA in 2017 following a failed drug test. While Penne was originally slammed with a four-year ban, the suspension was later reduced to 20 months. Though the UFC veteran had not competed in years, Lupita Godinez was honored to have her as an opponent. The Mexico-born Canadian said:
"Yeah, of course, I couldn’t have asked for a better opponent. The truth is that I’m really happy for this matchup and that’s it. I’m excited to be sharing the cage with a veteran like her who’s been fighting for many years.”