LOS ANGELES – The odds are stacked against Tonya Evinger in a big way on Saturday against Cristiane Justino.
“Cyborg” Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is a massive favorite against Evinger (19-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) when the two meet for the UFC’s vacant women’s featherweight title at UFC 214, which takes place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.
Justino, the former Invicta FC featherweight champion, is more than a 13-1 favorite at some online sports books. But Evinger, who vacated her Invicta FC bantamweight belt to come to the UFC to move up in weight for the show, believes she’s got a major upset brewing.
“I’m willing to take any fight,” Evinger said at Wednesday’s news conference in support of the event. “I’m here to work and prove that I’m the best. … I think I’m going to put on a show and prove a lot of people wrong and hopefully come out with the win.”
Against Justino, she’ll be taking on a bigger opponent – an opponent who has struggled to make weight for 140-pound catchweight fights in a pair of previous UFC appearances. But at 145 pounds, Justino thinks those extra pounds not needing to come off may make a difference.
“Every day, I trained happy and my team was really happy with me,” Justino said. “I feel great. I feel ready, and Saturday is going to be my day.”
For her part, Evinger knows beyond gunning for what would be one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, she also has punched her ticket to the UFC – which is important in the long run.
But she believes she’s hitting her stride and catching “Cyborg” at the right time – maybe at the right time to walk away with a belt.
“To be honest, I’m just happy to be here,” Evinger said. “I feel like this is definitely my time in my career. I think I’m at the top of my game. I think the beginning of my career, it took me a while to catch on and figure out what kind of fighter I am. I definitley think this is the right time, and the right spot.”
Check out the video above for more from Evinger and Justino.
And for more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
UFC, UFC 214, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, MMA, California, title fights, Woodley-Maia