It’s been more than a year since Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña became the first woman to win The Ultimate Fighter, coached by her longtime friend Miesha Tate.
Many saw the bantamweight as the sport’s next big star, in a division growing in popularity. Some saw her as an eventual opponent for UFC champion Ronda Rousey.
But an injury in training last January would delay all that talk. In all, Peña reported tears to her ACL, MCL, meniscus, and hamstring.
Now, fourteen months since her victory over Jessica Rakoczy earned Peña the title of The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, the champ — as she tweeted to an Anderson Silva parody account yesterday — is back.
— Julianna Peña (@VenezuelanVixen) January 28, 2015
The UFC has confirmed that Peña is scheduled to face Milana Dudieva at UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs Lamas on April 4 in Virginia.
Milana Dudieva, of Alagir, Russia, boasts an 11-3 MMA record and a backgroudn in judo, SAMBO, and an indigenous Russian grappling style known as “belt wrestling.” She won a split decision in her UFC debut against Elizabeth Phillips last year.
Peña is officially 5-2 in her MMA career but is mostly known for her success on TUF 18, where she defeated Gina Mazany, Shayna Baszler, and Sarah Moras en route to the finale. Those bouts are not included on official records.
UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas, otherwise known as UFC Fight Night 63, is headlined by a featherweight bout between Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas. Benson Henderson will face Jorge Masvidal in a lightweight bout at the same event.