Ordinarily, the venue plays host to the NHL‘s New York Islanders, but on the afternoon of July 16, the hits will come inside the famous UFC Octagon, along with the debut of a former champion during the day’s undercard, as Emily Ducote (11-6 MMA) will join the promotion’s active roster in a strawweight contest.
Ducote’s opposition that summer afternoon comes in the form of former challenger to the UFC Strawweight Championship, No. 14 contender Jessica Penne (14-6 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in what looks to be one of the intriguing storylines of the day in UFC on ABC 3, provided that this fight stays together in the run-up to the card.
This will be an advertised maximum length of three rounds at five minutes per round on July 16.
Emily Ducote Bloodies Alesha Zappitella En Route to Invicta Strawweight Title in May
Ducote’s adversary that spring night was Alesha Zappitella (9-4, 1 NC MMA) in the Invicta FC 47 main event, and this fight turned out to be a landmark victory for the former.
In the second round of five on May 11, Emily Ducote regularly scored by landing nasty right-handed punches to Alesha Zappitella’s face, causing the latter to bleed out profusely out of her right eye.
During the one-minute rest period between rounds two and three, the fight doctor entered the cage in order to examine Zappitella’s cut, but it was too severe to permit her to continue the fight that evening, forcing the referee to stop the contest after two rounds, giving Emily Ducote the strap.
Ducote Gets “The Call” To Join UFC
As luck would have it, Emily Ducote would only hold onto the Invicta FC Strawweight Championship for three weeks’ time, when on June 1, she became the latest fighter to join the UFC’s active roster.
That night, USA Today’s MMA Junkie reported that Ducote would sign a contract with the UFC ahead of UFC on ABC 3 on the afternoon of July 16 to fight Jessica Penne during the undercard.
Emily Ducote replaces Penne’s original adversary that day, Brianna Fortino (Brianna van Buren), who withdrew from UFC on ABC 3 due to undisclosed reasons.
At the time of MMA Junkie reporting the news that Ducote would be fighting Penne on July 16 during UFC on ABC 3, the UFC had not yet officially announced the fight as happening.
Emily Ducote Ready For Second Stint in Major MMA
Heading into UFC on ABC 3 on July 16, Emily Ducote is no stranger to competing in a major MMA promotion, having been a member of Bellator MMA‘s active roster from 2016 until 2018, going 4-4 in that span.
Ducote fought at flyweight during her two years in Scott Coker‘s promotion, battling for the inaugural Bellator MMA Women’s Flyweight Championship in November of 2017 during the co-main event of the evening in Bellator 186 on the campus of Penn State University in University Park, PA.
Emily Ducote’s foe that autumn Friday night was Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, and although Ducote was able to take Macfarlane into the fifth round of the contest, Macfarlane was able to sink in a triangle armbar submission to force Ducote to tap out with under two minutes remaining in the fight.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane then was able to successfully defend the flyweight championship four times in a row over the course of more than 1,100 days.
One question still remains for Emily Ducote and her camp as she embarks on her UFC stint in UFC on ABC 3:
Is Emily Ducote Ready For the UFC?
On paper, Emily Ducote, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, appears to be ready for the bright lights of the UFC ahead of her promotional debut on July 16, and this is something that she’d been hoping for in the past.
Prior to her appearance in UFC on ABC 3 on July 16, she was targeted to debut in the UFC last year on short notice, but this contest never materialized.
Last August, Ducote spoke to The Oklahoman and said that her mantra for a fight is simple: Get ready, stay ready.
“I don’t just train when I have a fight, I stay here all the time,” said Ducote. “And I’ll do training trips and I’ll kind of just try to better myself as a fighter so that if something comes up, I would be confident that I was ready.”
Fizzled Bout Last Year Kept Ducote on UFC’s Radar
Despite her original UFC debut never materializing last year, Emily Ducote was still on the UFC’s radar, something she alluded to in the same interview.
“They offered it, and I accepted it, it was really, really close to happening,” she said of the fizzled fight. “And then it just didn’t work out. But that makes me realize that I’m on that (short) list of people that they’ll call if they need a short-notice fight. So it is a good little confidence booster and just a good little motivation to know that I am very close to where I want to be.”
Now, after years of waiting and a fizzled fight, Emily Ducote will finally get her shot in the UFC during UFC on ABC 3 next month.
Emily Ducote has worked her hardest over the last several years to get to the UFC and as spring turns to summer inside the United States, she’s now on the cusp of realizing her ultimate goal during UFC on ABC 3 in Long Island in about a month’s time.
Fingers crossed for Ducote, her camp, and her fans, that the fight against Jessica Penne on July 16 stays together.
Featured Image Credits to Emily Ducote