Former UFC strawweight championship challenger, Karolina Kowalkiewicz is in line to make her first Octagon walk since February 2020 as she draws fellow former title chaser, Jessica Penne at UFC 265 on August 7. A location or venue for the event has yet to be determined by the promotion, however, rumblings suggest the card is set to land at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas.

For Lodz native, Kowalkiewicz the August date will mark her first Octagon appearance since UFC Fight Night Auckland in February of last year, where she suffered a unanimous decision loss to recent feature, Yan Xiaonan. The defeat came the Pole’s fourth consecutively.

California native, Penne recently snapped a four year hiatus from active competition in April of this year — nabbing a close split decision win over short-notice opponent, former LFA strawweight best, Lupita Godinez at UFC Vegas 24 at the UFC Apex facility. The victory came as Penne’s first since December of 2014. The promotion officially announced the bout at strawweight this afternoon.

Following her decision shutout loss to Xiaonan, Kowalkiewicz required a surgical procedure in New Zealand, after she had suffered multiple breaks of “small bones” surrounding her eye during the defeat, which left her with double vision momentarily. 

The former KSW flyweight champion has competed 11 times under the UFC’s scrutiny, lodged a 5-6 promotional record. 

Kowalkiewicz, 33, challenged fellow Polish striker, former undisputed 115lbs champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the championship at UFC 205 in November of 2016 — dropping a unanimous decision in the first of a championship triple-header at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

The Muay Thai practitioner has managed to take home notable professional wins against the likes of Felice Herrig, Heather Jo Clark, Randa Markos, Kalindra Faria, Mizuki Inoue, Jasminka Civa, and holds a split judging triumph against two-time strawweight best, the recently-minted gold holder, Rose Namajunas back at UFC 201 in July of 2016. 

Penne, an alum of The Ultimate Fighter 20 — made it to the semi-final bracket via a pair of decision triumphs opposite both Lisa Ellis and Ashling Daly, however, suffered a judging loss of her own against inaugural strawweight champion, eventual tournament winner, Carla Esparza.

The California native is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Lucas Leite and has managed to notch an impressive seven submission victories across her 18-fight professional career.

The 38-year-old is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion, taking the title with a second round triangle win over Naho Sugiyama back in October of 2012, before dropping the undisputed championship in her next outing against common-opposition, Michelle Waterson. 

UFC 265 is yet to nail down an official venue or location, however, a bantamweight championship fight between current two-weight gold holder, Amanda Nunes to the #6 rated 135lbs challenger, Julianna Pena has been booked for the event. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.