Paige VanZant
12 Gauge

USA

Enters free agency with loss
StrawweightUFC
July 11, 2020
VanZant lost to Amanda Ribas via submission (Armbar) at 2:21 of Round 1 at UFC 251 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
Entering the final fight of her contract, there appears to be an extremely good chance this is VanZant's last fight with the UFC. Quite honestly, there is little reason for the company to consider re-signing her. PVZ simply hasn't improved much over the course of her nearly six years with the UFC. Part of that is undoubtedly due to the fact VanZant has been constantly injured -- one particular arm issue led to multiple fractures and surgeries -- but she has gone backwards in the rare instances in wish she has been able to step into the Octagon. If the is indeed the end of her time with the company, VanZant will finish up with a 5-4 record. She began her UFC career with three straight wins before dropping four of her last six fights.
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Draws Ribas in July
StrawweightUFC
May 21, 2020
VanZant (arm) is scheduled to fight Amanda Ribas in a flyweight contest at the July 11 UFC event, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
VanZant was originally booked to face Ribas in March at UFC Brasilia, but she was forced to withdraw due to a lingering arm injury that's kept her sidelined since Jan. 2019. She's had multiple arm fractures and resulting surgeries, and with only one fight left on her contract there's reason to believe that July's bout could be the 26-year-old's final UFC appearance. Ribas has a one-inch reach advantage over "12 Gauge," but the two fighters stand even in height.
Details future plans
StrawweightUFC
April 23, 2020
VanZant (arm) intends to book a fight as soon as possible before having another arm surgery, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
VanZant has been on the sidelines since a January 2019 victory over Rachael Ostovich, and all this time has had one fight remaining on her UFC contract. The reason for her absence has been multiple arm fractures and ensuing surgeries, but she's not out of the woods with the injury just yet. VanZant believes the reason for additional complications is the plate that was meant to stabilize the bone, so she'll eventually need another operation for its removal. She intends to fight once more with the plate inside and risk re-injury, though she doesn't intend to spar leading up to this fight. VanZant is still just 26 years old, so there are plenty of prime fighting years ahead, even if she were to suffer another setback. Regardless of her health, her marketability will make her a coveted asset for multiple promotions, whether she stays in the UFC or joins her husband in Bellator.
Nearing return after cast removal
StrawweightUFC
March 24, 2020
VanZant (arm) had her cast removed Monday and is hoping for a quick return to action, Mike Bohn of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The UFC schedule remains a bit in limbo due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, but once the company starts getting back to normal, it will have one of its most well-known commodities at its disposal. VanZant last competed in January of 2019, but had been dealing with an arm injury going into that fight that appears to have been made worse by competing. After several additional setbacks ended up requiring more than 14 months on the sidelines, VanZant is now ready to schedule the final fight of her UFC contract. She had originally been schedule to fight Amanda Ribas on March 14, but was forced to withdraw due to complications with her arm injury.
Won't fight at UFC Brasilia
StrawweightUFC
January 23, 2020
VanZant (arm) will no longer fight at UFC Brasilia on March 14.
ANALYSIS
VanZant had initially agreed to fight Amanda Ribas in a strawweight matchup at UFC Brasilia, but she apparently won't be ready to make her return to the Octagon. VanZant has been sidelined since January of 2018 after suffering multiple arm injuries. Randa Markos will take VanZant's place in the fight on short notice. It's unclear when VanZant will be ready to make her return.
Targeting return in March
StrawweightUFC
November 25, 2019
VanZant (arm) has agreed to a strawweight bout against Amanda Ribas at UFC Brazil on March 14, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
VanZant has found an opponent for the final fight on her current deal with the UFC. While contracts have yet to be signed, both parties have agreed to it. She moved up to 125-pounds for her previous two fights, going 1-1 in the process. Her last bout was a victory over Rachael Ostovich via submission in January of 2018, but multiple arm injuries have kept her sidelined since. Now, she will reportedly return to the strawweight division to take on Ribas, who sports an 8-1 MMA record.