Raquel Pennington Steps In To Face Jéssica Andrade At UFC 171With Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña injured, TUF 18 semi-finalist Raquel “Rocky” Pennington has stepped in to face Brazilian rising star Jéssica “Bate Estaca” Andrade at UFC 171: “Hendricks vs Lawler” on March 15th in Dallas, Texas. UFC officials announced the change this evening.

Pennington rebounded from a loss to Jessica “The Ragin'” Rakoczy in the TUF 18 semi-finals by winning her official UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale on November 30th. Andrade picked up her first Octagon win when she defeated veteran Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton at UFC Fight Night 30.

Pennington (4-3-0) quickly became one of the bantamweight division’s top female prospects in 2012 with wins in three of her first four pro fights. Along the way, she defeated fellow TUF 18 alum Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras and Hawaiian standout Raquel “Rocky” Pa’aluhi. Following a pair of tough defeats against “Alpha” Cat Zingano and Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith for Invicta FC, Pennington joined the TUF 18 cast and advanced to the semi-finals by defeating Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger and Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke. At the TUF 18 Finale, Pennington edged out Modafferi in a competitive bout.

Andrade (10-3-0) remains one of MMA’s most active female fighters. She debuted in the sport at age 19 and went on to win eight of her first ten fights in Brazil. A submission win over Milana Dudieva at ProFC 47 in Russia earned Andrade a spot on the UFC’s newly-formed women’s bantamweight roster. She got off to a strong start in her Octagon debut at UFC on FOX 8 in July before succumbing to strikes from former title challenger Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche in the second round. In what was her most impressive performance to date, Andrade dominated Sexton en route to a one-sided decision win in October.

UFC 171: “Hendricks vs Lawler” takes place on March 15th at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. The event is headlined by a UFC Welterweight Championship bout between Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler.



(Photo Credit: UFC)

  1. This will be a hell of a fight. Pennington is at her best against aggressive opponents, which Andrade most definitely is. I always felt that Raquel held back against Roxy Modafferi because they were teammates. If Rocky comes to fight, I really like her chances. The fight’s still far enough away that she should have a decent training camp as well.

  2. Anything about someone at Pena’s gym being responsible for her injury? Dana White went off on it. Other sources say she was sometimes picked on for being on TUF and her partner was a guy who maybe pushed her too far. Her knee was torn completely, and her career is in jeopardy, so maybe there is something to it. Sounds like some guys just can’t train with the women and maybe even try to bully them. Could be a big story.

  3. Yes sas, I heard the same thing. Simply unbelievable and so very unfortunate. Pena tore 3 of her 4 knee ligaments and a meniscus and also tore her hamstring. I have never heard of such a catastrophic injury except in professional football and car accidents. When it happens in football, the leg is not just hyperextended, but it is completely bent the wrong way and under full weight. What the hell were they doing to Pena in training??