Former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Pannie Kianzad will step up on short notice to face Julia Avila in a bantamweight contest on the preliminary card at UFC 239 on July 6 in Las Vegas.
Avila was originally scheduled to face Melissa Gatto, but Gatto was forced out of the fight for undisclosed reasons.
Sources confirmed that Kianzad would then step into replace her with Avila also confirming the matchup on social media. MMAJunkie initially reported the switch.
So blessed that @panniekianzad is stepping up and saving this fight! So excited to test myself against such a strong and game opponent. I know she’s going to bring it and this is definitely going to be a beautiful… https://t.co/pIUXj4lkYT
— Julia Avila (@RagingPandaMMA) June 24, 2019
Kianzad returns to the UFC after falling in her only previous bout with the promotion when she lost to Macy Chiasson in the featherweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter 28. The former Invicta FC standout then went onto get a win at a Superior Challenge show in May before returning to the UFC roster.
Avila will be making her promotional debut with a 6-1 record that includes a win over former UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano. Most recently, Avila defeated Alexa Conners by second-round TKO at Invicta FC 32.
UFC 239 will be headlined by a pair of title fights, with Jon Jones defending his light heavyweight championship against Thiago Santos, and Amanda Nunes putting her bantamweight strap up for grabs against former champion Holly Holm.