BREAKING: Amanda Nunes tests positive for COVID-19; Out of UFC 265

UFC 265 has taken a hit today by losing the co-main event of the evening. ESPN reported today that the promotion’s two-division champion and the greatest female fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes (21-4), has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nunes was set to make her return to the bantamweight division to defend her UFC title against Julianna Pena (10-4). These two have some serious bad blood and many were looking forward to the fight.

However, the fight is going to be delayed. The UFC‘s chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN that the plan is for the promotion to rebook the fight once Nunes is healthy and ready to go.

At this time there is no word on how Nunes is said to be doing after testing positive. However, given the language from Campbell, my guess is that she’s experiencing symptoms from COVID.

For now, it would appear that the new co-main event of UFC 265 will be the bantamweight contest between Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz.

Plans for the UFC title fight

As Campbell said, the UFC is fully planning on rebooking this fight when Nunes is ready to go. However, we really don’t have any idea of when that will be. We’ve seen some fighters be ready just two weeks after a positive test.

However, we’ve also seen some fighters experience symptoms that kept them out for extended periods of time. Khamzat Chimaev and Alexander Volkanovski are two that stick out.

Volkanovski was set to defend his UFC title against Brian Ortega in March, but after a positive COVID test, that fight was scrapped. Those two will now fight in September. In reality, September might be the target date for the Nunes – Pena title fight.

Another possibility could be November. At the beginning of November, the UFC is returning to New York for UFC 268 which is headlined by Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Don’t be surprised if you see this bantamweight title end up at MSG.

Houston the front-runner to host UFC 265 per Dana White

It looks like the UFC will be heading back to Texas in August. At least, that’s how it’s looking right now. This week, Dana White sat down with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole and they talked about all the happenings with the promotion.

Of course, one of the topics that came up was the UFC heavyweight division. Currently, the promotion is trying to finalize the first title defense for the new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3).

Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4) at UFC 260 to capture the heavyweight title. Prior to that night, it was understood that the winner would fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is a super-fight over the summer.

However, financial negotiations never got off to a hot start between Jones and the UFC. Now, it doesn’t appear that Jones is going to be fighting anytime soon. With that, the promotion moved to the top contender, Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC).

Lewis is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC and he holds a decision win over the current champion. He’s won four fights in a row and he definitely deserves the next crack at the heavyweight title. Because Lewis is next, the promotion is honing in on Houston, Texas hosting UFC 265.

UFC 265 – Home Field Advantage

Now, the UFC hasn’t finalized the rematch between Ngannou and Lewis. However, the word is that the fight is getting pretty close to the goal line. The promotion is planning on the heavyweight title fight headlining UFC 265.

Currently, Amanda Nunes (21-4) – Julianna Pena (10-4) is the lone title fight on the August PPV. However, it appears that the promotion is going to have the heavyweight title on the line in the main event.

Derrick Lewis is a native of Houston and he got a massive pop when shown on screen at UFC 262 earlier this month. It looks like Lewis is going to get a little home field advantage for his second crack at UFC gold.

Of course, this situation is still fluid at the moment. For one, the promotion hasn’t finalized the fight and two, UFC 265 hasn’t been announced for Houston. However, the promotion is looking to lock up the location soon and my guess is the fight will be finalized just before.

PFL’s Kayla Harrison has her eyes set on GOAT status in the final year of her contract

MMA, PFL

Make no mistake about it, the best female fighter in PFL is Kayla Harrison (9-0). The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo is an extremely special talent and she’s completely destroyed every opponent that’s been put in front of her.

In her nine professional wins, only two of them have gone the distance. Both of those fights were against arguably the second best PFL female fighter Larissa Pacheco (14-4). Pacheco and Harrison are likely going to meet again during this PFL season.

Harrison made a statement after her last performance and she said after the fight that she’s the baddest woman in any room. She wants the world to see her as the greatest of all time once she’s done competing.

Harrison’s contract with PFL is set to expire after this season. PFL is already having a dream scenario where Harrison ultimately fights Claressa Shields, but that probably will not play itself out.

Assuming Harrison runs through the other PFL lightweights this season and captures another title, she’s going to be the hottest free agent on the market. Harrison will have the UFC and Bellator knocking at her door to take her away.

PFL, Bellator, or the UFC?

The Olympian has been vocal that she does actually believe in the PFL format with seasons and rankings. However, she does recognize that there are big fights out there outside of PFL that could cement her legacy.

Of course, the biggest show in town is the UFC which is the home of the greatest of all time in Amanda Nunes (21-4). Nunes is the UFC’s two-division champion and she’s actually a teammate of Harrison’s at American Top Team.

Dana White recently commented about the PFL champion saying, “I don’t know if she’s ready. I just don’t know if her people think she’s ready. It’s a whole other level when you get here (the UFC).”

The PFL champion fired back on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show stating, “I think that if Dana is ready to pay me a lot of money, I’ll make him a lot of money. I’m ready to face the best in the world.”

Harrison is likely going to win her third PFL championship this year. After the year is over, The Pro Fight League, Bellator, and the UFC will all be calling. My guess is that she ultimately winds up in the UFC especially considering her ability to make 145 pounds. This will definitely be a story to follow at the end of the year.

After dominant win at UFC 261, what’s next for Valentina Shevchenko?

This past Saturday at UFC 261 we got to see a flyweight title fight that the world was intrigued by. The undisputed flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko (21-3) defended her title against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-9).

Heading into the fight, the UFC and Dana White really hyped up the former strawweight champion to build interest. The thought was that the power and pure strength of Andrade could give Valentina Shevchenko problems she has yet to deal with.

However, let’s not forget that Shevchenko has fought 40 minutes with Amanda Nunes (21-4). Nevertheless, the UFC was building up Andrade was a truly formattable challenger for the title.

Well, on Saturday night, Valentina Shevchenko made a massive statement to everyone. Dana White said that Shevchenko fought like a demon at UFC 261 who was pissed off at everyone.

Shevchenko did what everyone said Andrade needed to do at UFC 261. She engaged Andrade in the clinch and in close quarters. However, Andrade couldn’t do anything and Shevchenko showed just how strong she is.

Shevchenko ragdolled the former UFC strawweight champion on Saturday night. There wasn’t one aspect of the fight that she didn’t dominate. In the second round, she secured the crucifix position off of a powerful takedown and got the TKO win.

What’s next after UFC 261?

At UFC 261, Valentina Shevchenko once again proved that there are levels to this game and nobody is even close to hers at 125 pounds. She’s so far ahead of the rest of these ladies it’s not even funny.

The thing that makes her so special is how well-rounded she is as a martial artist. She has elite striking, elite grappling and she’s stronger than most of the bantamweights on the roster.

The only person on the entire UFC roster that can compete with Shevchenko is Amanda Nunes. This is not an exaggeration or being a victim of the moment, but I truly believe that Shevchenko is the second greatest female mixed martial artist we’ve ever seen.

She is inches behind Nunes and if you have a hard time believing that, watch their second fight from UFC 215. Personally, I scored that fight for Shevchenko and if she would’ve won that split decision, she would be called the greatest.

In my perfect world, I would love to see the trilogy between these two ladies, but Dana White has dismissed that. In terms of the next contender at flyweight, there are a couple of upcoming UFC matchups to watch.

A few weeks from now, Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) takes on Viviane Araujo (10-2) at UFC 262. Then, in June, Lauren Murphy (14-4) takes on JoJo Calderwood (15-5). One of these four ladies will get the next crack at the champion. My only advice to whoever gets that shot is good luck because you’re going to need it.

BREAKING: UFC books Amanda Nunes – Julianna Pena

Amanda Nunes (21-4) is officially set for her first UFC bantamweight title defense since December 2019. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto today that The Lioness is returning to bantamweight in August to defend her title against Julianna Pena (10-4).

You can imagine that this matchup at UFC 265 is going to have a ton of heat behind it. Back at UFC 257, Pena defeated Sara McMann by third round fear-naked choke. After the fight was over, she started calling for a fight with Nunes.

Pena stated that the UFC‘s two-division champion had been ducking her for years. The callouts were odd to me considering where Pena was in the division. The Venezuelan Vixen is just 2-2 in her last four and was put to sleep against Germaine de Randamie last October.

Nevertheless, the trash talk seemed to work and the UFC decided to give Pena the fight. If the current rankings hold, Julianna Pena will enter the cage in August as the sixth ranked bantamweight.

UFC 265 Grudge Match

Amanda Nunes is the greatest of all time and let’s be clear, Julianna Pena really doesn’t deserve this shot at UFC 265. Her resume doesn’t exactly make her the number one contender. Especially considering the top contender just put her to sleep six months ago.

However, Pena called out the champion and that’s what she’s getting. Nunes has defeated the best the UFC has to offer at both 135 and 145 pounds. Pena is one of the few bantamweights that Nunes hasn’t had the privilege of fighting yet.

Perhaps that had a lot to do with this booking as well. Either way, it should be a fun buildup to UFC 265. The last time we saw Nunes was last month when she demolished Megan Anderson at UFC 259.

The win was Nunes’ second straight defense of her featherweight title. Now, Nunes will return to the division that made her a champion for the first time. This should be a fun matchup when August rolls around.

UFC: Miesha Tate wants to be active upon her return; Eyeing a rematch with Amanda Nunes

One week ago today we learned that Miesha Tate (18-7) was returning to the UFC. The former bantamweight champion retired back in 2016 after she had lost her second consecutive fight.

That fight was to Raquel Pennington and prior to that, she lost at UFC 200 to Amanda Nunes. Tate had just turned 30 years old when she retired and having only lost two fights in a row, many were perplexed by her decision to retire.

However, Tate told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week that she was just ready to get away from being Miesha Tate the fighter. In her time away from the octagon, she became a VP with One Championship.

However, as a fighter, Tate was still under contract with the UFC. Tate told Helwani that she really started to get the itch to fight last year. She had a baby last June and then reached out to Dana White in September.

After meeting with White, Tate’s UFC return was inevitable. However, at first, Tate was going to compete at featherweight. The former bantamweight champion wanted to compete where she didn’t have to cut weight.

Returning to the UFC’s bantamweight division

Of course, it’s known how shallow the talent pool is at featherweight in the UFC. In fact, there was rumors going around that the division was being shut down after Nunes defeated Megan Anderson earlier this month.

As of now, featherweight is still a division, but it won’t be the division Tate competes in. After thinking about it, Tate wanted to compete at bantamweight because she’s wanting to be an active fighter upon her return.

Ultimately, the goal for Tate is to get a rematch with the UFC’s two-division champion, Amanda Nunes. Tate told Helwani that she believes she could get another crack at Nunes with a couple of quality wins.

Given her name recognition, I believe that’s about right in terms of her timeline. Tate takes on Marion Reneau (9-7-1) on July 17th. This is the perfect opponent for her in her UFC return.

Reneau is not the best fighter, but she’s dangerous. This is a good way for Tate to get back into the swing of things before she starts taking on some of the best at 135 pounds. Maybe another showdown with Holly Holm could occur later in 2021.

UFC: Is Julianna Pena justifiably confident or extremely delusional?

Last weekend at UFC 259, Amanda Nunes (21-4) successfully defended her featherweight title. The greatest fighter in women’s MMA history furthered her legacy by demolishing Megan Anderson in the first round.

After her latest title defense, Nunes is planning on dropping back down to bantamweight to defend her other UFC title. Waiting for her at 135 pounds is Julianna Pena (10-4). Pena has been extremely vocal about wanting a shot at Nunes.

After Pena’s win over Sara McMann, she got on the microphone and called out Amanda Nunes. She said that the UFC‘s two-division champion had been dodging her for years and it was time for the two of them to meet inside the octagon.

These comments seemed to amuse Nunes and most of the MMA community. After Nunes won on Saturday night, we learned that Holly Holm was out of her upcoming fight against Julianna Pena. That fight was being looked at as a potential title eliminator.

After that news dropped, Julianna Pena took to social media to continue her callouts of the UFC champion. Pena also appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show where she continued to callout Nunes and made some rather interesting remarks.

Will the UFC book the grudge match?

Pena told Ariel Helwani, “She knows stylistically I’m the worst matchup for her. Let’s go back to the Cat Zingano fight. She lost, she curled up the fetal position and the referee had to pull Cat off of her. I beat Cat. I’m the best wrestler in the division. She knows she’s gonna curl up in the fetal position (again).”

Strong words from Pena towards the UFC’s two-division champion. However, is her words just showing confidence or straight up delusion? To me, everything she said in this interview with Ariel Helwani came across as Chael Sonnen level delusional.

The fight she’s referencing was seven years ago before Nunes had a strength and conditioning program. Nunes hasn’t remotely gassed in a fight anytime in the last few years. In fact, she just beat Felicia Spencer for five consecutive rounds without breaking a sweat. There is no questioning the cardio of Amanda Nunes now.

I’ll give Pena credit for putting herself out there, but some of the things she says just make no sense at all. However, at the end of the day, this talk is likely going to get her a crack at the UFC title.

After UFC 259, Dana White hinted that Pena might be next for Nunes at 135 pounds. Despite being ranked sixth and having just lost to the top contender a few months ago, Pena’s ability to sell the fight might win out here.

I respect Julianna Pena for calling for this fight and wanting this fight. Not many people do, however, my advice to her would just be to be careful what you wish for. Personally, I hope this fight gets made because the women’s divisions could use some of this heat.

UFC denies closing featherweight despite claims from Megan Anderson

Maybe the UFC isn’t getting rid of the women’s featherweight division after all. Yesterday, Megan Anderson (11-5) announced on her Twitch that the promotion was not going to be retaining her after her contract had expired.

Anderson also said that the UFC had informed her that they were getting rid of the featherweight division. Multiple outlets have received word back from the UFC and the promotion is denying that they are getting rid of the division.

The UFC has confirmed that Megan Anderson is no longer a fighter for the promotion. With Anderson gone, the featherweight division is down to just a few fighters overall. As mentioned in the article yesterday, the only featherweight contest booked is in May.

That was said to be the final fight for the featherweights, but it might not be. Danyelle Wolf and Felicia Spencer will fight in May with the future of the featherweights up in the air at the moment.

What is happening in the UFC’s women’s featherweight division?

Amanda Nunes (21-4) is the UFC’s two-division champion and is one of the biggest stars for the promotion. She has been very vocal about keeping the featherweight division open. Dana White has acknowledged that they would do what the champ wants in this case.

However, with letting Megan Anderson walk and having so little featherweights, what should we make of the situation? I believe that moving forward, the UFC’s featherweight division will exist only in name.

Nunes will still be the champion, but until they can add more talent, the division will be on pause. If there’s a fighter outside the UFC who rises up through the rankings at 145, you might see a matchup with Nunes materialize.

However, I think the UFC is closing the division in terms of it being an active vision. They will keep it listed to allow Nunes to have her champ-champ status, however, the division itself will essentially be put on ice.

BREAKING: UFC dropping women’s featherweight division

In a decision that does not come as a surprise, the UFC is getting rid of the women’s featherweight division. The news was revealed by Megan Anderson (11-5) this evening on her Twitch Live Stream.

Anderson said that the UFC has informed her that the promotion is getting rid of featherweight and they will not be retaining her. UFC 259 was Anderson’s final fight on her current contract with the promotion.

Of course, Anderson lost in her title fight to Amanda Nunes (21-4). Earlier today, we posted an article about what could be next for Megan Anderson. However, it was hard to find any options for Anderson given the lack of fighters at 145 pounds.

The UFC currently has one final featherweight bout already booked for May. That matchup will feature former title challenger Felicia Spencer and Danyelle Wolf. For now, this will be the final women’s featherweight fight in the UFC.

UFC’s next steps

The writing was on the wall for the featherweight division. The UFC only had a handful of fighters in the division and the only two viable challengers to the champion were completely dominated in their attempts at the title.

Keeping the division didn’t make much sense at this point. Amanda Nunes said after UFC 259 that she doesn’t want to give up her title and wants to keep her champ-champ status.

The promotion absolutely loves Nunes so my guess is they will let her keep the title of featherweight champion. However, the division as a whole will no longer exist until the promotion finds a challenger for Nunes.

Megan Anderson will now hit the open market as a free agent. After the fight in May, Felicia Spencer and Danyelle Wolf will also be released from their UFC contracts unless they can make 135 pounds. Amanda Nunes will now return exclusively to bantamweight to defend her 135 pound title.

What’s next for Megan Anderson after loss at UFC 259?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Megan Anderson (11-5) finally got her shot at the featherweight title. Anderson was originally supposed to get her title fight back in December, however, Amanda Nunes (21-4) had to push back the fight a couple of months.

When the UFC brought Megan Anderson in, many considered her to be a future title contender. Anderson was the Invicta featherweight champion and she had a lot of skills that made her a formattable opponent for anyone at 145 pounds.

Up until Saturday night, Anderson was 3-2 inside the octagon with losses to Holly Holm and Felicia Spencer. However, she was coming off of back-to-back first round stoppages which earned her the shot at the UFC‘s two-division champion.

Anderson had an extremely tall task on Saturday night. Amanda Nunes has looked unstoppable over her last eleven fights. The two-division champion also seems to do her best work at 145 pounds when she doesn’t have to cut extra weight.

Megan Anderson was a massive betting underdog entering UFC 259 and the fight played out that way. Anderson looked extremely nervous and tentative in the cage. As soon as Nunes hit her clean for the first time, you knew she was in trouble.

Anderson retreated and Nunes swarmed. The UFC champion pummeled Anderson with more shots that forced a desperate takedown attempt. Nunes easily defended and locked up a triangle armbar to get the first round submission and retain her title.

What’s next after UFC 259?

Unfortunately for Megan Anderson, there are not a lot of options for her at the moment in the UFC. The women’s featherweight division is extremely shallow and they don’t even have a rankings system due to the lack of fighters.

With that, it’s hard to tell what’s next for Anderson. Dana White’s Contender Series makes it’s return in June and perhaps the UFC will look to add more 145 pound women through the upcoming season. More talent means more options for Megan Anderson.

When it comes to current UFC options, one fighter to look at is Leah Letson (5-1). Letson was a semifinalist on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter. She hasn’t fought since her 2018 win over Julija Stoliarenko, but she’s gearing up for her return to the octagon.

However, the most likely option would be the winner of the Felicia Spencer – Danyelle Wolf fight. This matchup is expected to take place in May. Whoever wins won’t likely warrant a title shot so a fight with Anderson would make sense. No matter how you slice it, there aren’t a lot of options at featherweight.