SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 UFC 295: JONES vs. MIOCIC
"BABY SHARK" TABATHA RICCI vs. "LOOPY" LUPITA GODINEZ
WOMEN'S STRAWWEIGHT SHOWDOWN
LIVE on ESPN+ MADISON SQUARE GARDEN NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
NEW YORK CITY, New York — UFC 295: Jones vs. Miocic, which will be headlined by a heavyweight world title fight, will also feature a long-awaited and highly anticipated strawweight showdown when the promotion returns to New York City to celebrate the historic 30th anniversary of the UFC. UFC 295: Jones vs. Miocic takes place Saturday, November 11th at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The main event will feature a heavyweight world title fight. UFC heavyweight champion and former two-time UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones will look to defend his title for the first time against former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in what will be the biggest heavyweight title fight in UFC history. The fight card will also feature the return of BJJ and Judo black belt Tabatha "Baby Shark" Ricci as she faces a UFC record holder and fellow top ranked contender Lupita "Loopy" Godinez. Ricci is currently ranked #10 in the official UFC rankings, while Godinez is currently ranked #13. This will set up the first fight in both women's decorated careers, where they are officially ranked, while fighting another officially ranked opponent. Ricci (9-1) returns to the UFC Octagon to continue her unbeaten run as a strawweight and rapid ascent in the sport, which has seen her crack the Top 10 in the rankings in less than two years competing for the industry leader at 115-pounds. "Baby Shark" is a native of Birigui, São Paulo, Brazil and holds the rank of black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. She was signed to the UFC after winning 3 fights in just 9 months for the LFA, which is the UFC's premier developmental organization. The proud Biriguiense now looks to go 5-0 as a UFC strawweight and 10-0 overall in the division. Her first two UFC wins were earned with Unanimous Decision victories over fellow Brazilian prospects Maria Oliveira and Polyana Viana. However, it was her third UFC win that was the most impressive and saw her land in the official UFC strawweight rankings. Ricci became the first woman to submit former UFC women's strawweight title challenger Jessica Penne in the UFC. Three months later, Ricci earned a victory in the first grudge match of her career. This win came against Gillian Robertson, who is the UFC record holder for most submission wins by a woman. Ricci defeated her via Unanimous Decision at UFC on ABC 5. The win avenged the first career loss of her teammate Piera Rodriguez, who Robertson had defeated just two months earlier. The win against Robertson saw Ricci continue to climb the official UFC rankings.
Godinez (11-3) is the UFC record holder for fastest turnaround between two fights in the modern era of the UFC. She accomplished this feat two years ago, when she competed twice for the UFC in a span of just 7 days. The Mexican-Canadian fighter known as "Loopy" is a native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, but now calls Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada home. However, earlier this year she teamed up with UFC women's flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and now trains alongside the champion at Team Lobo in Mexico. The change of scenery has helped Godinez compile a 3-0 record in the UFC this year to set up a showdown with Ricci, which is a fight that fans have been eagerly anticipating for over three years. The two strawweights were undefeated when they signed with the LFA in the summer of 2020. Then they both won their LFA debut just one month apart. Godinez's debut was in the main event of LFA 94 in October 2020, which saw her defeat Vanessa Demopoulos for the LFA women's strawweight title. Demopoulos was a teammate of Ricci's at the time and many felt that Ricci would be the first to challenge Godinez for the title. However, both women were signed by the UFC in mid-2021 before that bout came to fruition. They then went on to earn their first UFC victories just two weeks apart in October of 2021. Their success continued and now they will finally meet after both entering the official UFC rankings this year.
The timing and location of Ricci vs. Godinez is perfect as they will collide in a venue that is hallowed grounds in the world of combat sports. Madison Square Garden is colloquially known as "The World's Most Famous Arena", The Garden, or by its initials MSG. The building is a multi-purpose arena in the heart of New York City that is located in Midtown Manhattan between Seventh and Eighth Avenues from 31st to 33rd Street above Penn Station.
In the sport of Boxing, iconic bouts at MSG go back well over a century. That includes "The Fight of the Century", Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier in 1971 as well as their rematch three years later. Other legendary bouts at MSG include Jack Dempsey vs. Bill Brennan in 1920, Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta in 1942, Roberto Duran vs. Benny Huertas in 1971, Mike Tyson vs. Mitch Green in 1986, Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis in 1999, and Bernard Hopkins vs. Felix Trinidad in 2001. In the sport of MMA, MSG is just as renowned. It was home to the UFC's first event in New York City in 2016. The main event saw Conor McGregor famously defeat Eddie Alvarez to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously. Other famous fights that took place inside MSG include Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping and Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2017, Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz in 2019, and Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya in 2022.
UFC 295 is scheduled to begin with the early preliminary card at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT on UFC Fight Pass. That will be followed by the regular preliminary card at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. on ESPN and ESPN+. The main card will begin at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on ESPN PPV. Tickets and VIP Ticket Experiences for UFC 295: Jones vs. Miocic are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com and UFCVIP.com.