UFC 257 Preview: Julianna Pena – Sara McMann

July 13, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; Julianna Pena (red gloves) fights Nicco Montano (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night-Sacramento at Golden 1 Center. Pena defeated Montano via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A UFC 257 matchup that’s been flying under the radar takes place tomorrow in the women’s bantamweight division. Two top ten bantamweights will battle it out as Julianna Pena (9-4) will take on the former Olympian, Sara McMann (12-5).

Sara McMann was an Olympic Silver Medalist in freestyle wrestling and she’s challenged for UFC gold during her tenure as a fighter. However, we haven’t seen much of her over the past couple of years.

Tomorrow night will be McMann’s third fight since the start of 2018. The former title challenger is looking to pickup her second consecutive win tomorrow night. The last time we saw McMann she won a decision over Lina Lansberg.

That fight took place almost a year ago exactly. McMann seems very focused and she seems intent on making another run towards a potential UFC title shot. She has a tough test in front of her if she wants to do that.

Former Ultimate Fighter winner, Julianna Pena, last fought back in October on Fight Island. The Venezuelan Vixen had a really good fight with top contender and former UFC champion, Germaine de Randamie.

Pena had some real bright spots in that fight. However, she was choked unconscious in the third round. Had Pena won that fight, she might’ve been the next in line to face Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title.

UFC 257 Prediction

This is a very good matchup and a very intriguing one at UFC 257. I’m very curious to see how the grappling exchanges go in this fight. Of course, we all know McMann’s pedigree as a wrestler.

However, Pena is one of the better grapplers at 135 pounds. She’s good on top and she’s good on her back. She poses a number of challenges for McMann when it comes to the grappling.

On the feet, Pena is going to enjoy a reach advantage at UFC 257. For her to get the better of the striking, she’s going to need to keep the fight at range and strike long tomorrow night.

I think Pena is going to have the advantage there. For McMann to win tomorrow, she’s going to have to do some damage in the clinch and control Pena on the ground. While I think she’ll have her moments, I see Pena scoring more over three rounds and edging out a decision.

Prediction: Julianna Pena by Unanimous Decision