Sarah Kaufman is set to fight Jessica “Evil” Eye at UFC 166 in October.
The match will mark both women’s UFC debut. Kaufman signed with the promotion in February and was expected to fight Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night 27 on August 28. However, McMann withdrew from the fight for undisclosed personal reasons, and Kaufman was pulled from the card as well.
Eye, along with Felice Herrig and Jessica Aguilar, was released from Bellator earlier this month.
“Given our current focus, we are not in position to provide these very deserving women regular and reoccurring fights on a large platform,” CEO Bjorn Rebney said of the decision to dissolve the women’s division. “And, I felt it was best to let them go and secure options that did.”
Eye signed with the UFC last week. Unlike Aguilar and Herrig, who fight at 115 pounds, the 27-year-old fights at 125 and 135 pounds. The latter is currently the only weight class in the UFC’s women’s division. So far, the women’s bantamweight division only consists of 13 fighters — including champion Ronda Rousey.
Eye boasts a near flawless 10-1 record, but she faces a tough opponent in Kaufman, who won the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship from Takayo Hashi in February 2010. The only blemishes on Kaufman’s 16-2 record are armbar submission losses to Marloes Coenen and Rousey.
Jessica Eye has been on a seven-fight win streak since her Bellator debut in September 2011, but six of those were unanimous or split decision victories. Of her five victories in her last seven fights, Sarah Kaufman recorded only one KO and one TKO — the others were also decision victories. It seems likely that their promotional debut will see both women going the distance.
UFC 166 will be headlined by Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos III. The two have split their previous encounters, with dos Santos winning the first match by first round knockout, and Velasquez winning the rematch by unanimous decision. UFC 166 will take place October 19 at the Toyota Center in Houston.
[Pictured: Sarah Kaufman]