- Date & Location: Saturday, August 7 @ TBD
- Odds: Amanda Nunes (-750) vs. Julianna Pena (+475) via Bovada
- Prediction: Nunes via knockout
Amanda Nunes returns to action on August 7 to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title against Julianna Pena. Pena is the No. 6 ranked fighter in the women’s 135-pound division. Nunes, who also holds the UFC women’s featherweight title, has not put her bantamweight crown on the line since she defeated former featherweight champ Germaine de Randamie at 135 pounds in December 2019. Nunes’ past two fights were in defense of the 145-pound belt.
Pena is 2-2 in her past four UFC scraps. Her losses during that time came to now UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko in January 2017 and De Randamie in 2020. Both those setbacks came via submission. Pena’s wins were against Nicco Montano in 2019 and Sara McMann in 2021. Pena defeated Montano via decision and McMann by submission. Pena took time off between 2017 and 2019 to have her first child, a daughter.
Nunes is on a 12-fight winning streak. During that run, she captured and defended both the UFC women’s featherweight and bantamweight titles. She has successfully defended the 145-pound belt twice. Nunes has five defenses of the bantamweight crown on her resume. With a win over Pena, Nunes will match Ronda Rousey’s record of six defenses of the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Nunes defeated Rousey in December 2016. She earned a 48-second TKO win over the former titleholder in that matchup. Rousey has not fought for the UFC since that loss.
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|Fighter #1||Fighter #2|
|Amanda Nunes||-700||+475||Julianna Pena|
NUNES vs. PENA PREDICTION & PICK
To be blunt, it’s hard to see a way that Pena wins this fight. Pena is a grappler, but her two most recent wins have come by submission, something that Nunes is quick to point out when she discusses this fight. As for Nunes, she has not lost since 2014 and her only submission setback came in her professional MMA debut in 2008. Over the past few years Nunes has claimed the title of the best woman fighter in MMA. Pena will not unseat her from that lofty perch.
Nunes has noted that Pena has been trash-talking her and that has given her motivation heading into this scrap. That motivation has led to Nunes making a prediction of how the fight will play out.
“She’s not stopping me,” said Nunes. “I will defend, and I will take her down, and I will finish her on the floor. She’s good with her wrestling, but also she has a lot of holes. The girls that I finish submit her. Valentina (Shevchenko) and Germaine (de Randamie) – two strikers – submitted her. So she has a lot of holes. I will do the same.”
I don’t doubt that Nunes will win this contest.
Pick: Nunes -700 via BetOnline.
BETTING VALUE WITH NUNES
If you wanted to get your money in on Nunes to win, the best time might have been as soon as this matchup was announced. Nunes opened at a -400. Since that time she has increased to -700 or more. It won’t be a surprise to see Nunes enter the cage as an even bigger favorite come fight night. With that, Nunes is not the best value when it comes to a straight win bet.
The move to make on Nunes as far as value is probably going to be one of the prop bets. I believe Nunes will get the finish in this matchup and I think it will come before the third round. So, no decision and over/under on rounds are appealing value bets.
A look at Nunes’ title reign at bantamweight shows three first-round finishes and two decision wins. Those finishes came against fighters who were much more accomplished than Pena — Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm. She also has a finish at featherweight over Cris Cyborg, which came in the first round.
A motivated Amanda Nunes is a dangerous Amanda Nunes and I think she will be motivated by Pena asking for this fight and trash-talking during the buildup.
Nunes has 13 career knockout wins, four submission victories and four decisions. I think she wants a submission here, but I believe the finish comes in the first round via knockout.
Prediction: Nunes via knockout -750 via Bookmaker.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Nunes is by far the superior fighter in this matchup. Pena’s place in this matchup is mostly due to her availability and the timing of the matchup. As I said above, I don’t see any way that Pena wins this fight.
FIGHT STATS: NUNES vs. PENA
|Amanda Nunes||Category||Julianna Pena|
|4.50||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||2.80|
|2.45||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||1.70|
|2.50||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||2.49|
|0.9||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.8|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Nunes is in the midst of a run that has fans and pundits speaking of her as the greatest woman to compete in MMA history. A loss to Pena would bring that talk to a screeching halt. As for Pena, a win at UFC 265 won’t be the biggest upset in UFC title fight history, but it will be in the conversation.
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