After another dominant title defense at UFC 259, what’s next for Amanda Nunes?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Amanda Nunes (21-4) defended her featherweight championship against Megan Anderson (11-5). Anderson’s physical attributes figured to give Nunes a new challenge that she wasn’t used to.

Anderson is very tall and she has good range striking as well as submissions. However, were those attributes going to be enough was the big question. The answer was emphatically no at UFC 259.

From the opening bell, Anderson looked extremely tentative. Her eyes were very wide and she had the look of someone who didn’t want to be there. Shortly into the first round, Nunes landed her first big bomb.

Anderson took the shot well, but she looked horrified. Nunes pushed forward and landed more shots that had Anderson hurt badly. Anderson shot for a desperation takedown, but Nunes ended up on top.

Once the UFC‘s two-division champion was on top, it didn’t last long. From the top, Nunes was able to lock up an inverted triangle choke. She transitioned that to a triangle armbar and Anderson was forced to tap. A beautiful performance by Nunes.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After this performance, it appears that the featherweight division will be put on ice for a bit. The UFC has no plans to close the division with Nunes’ desire to remain a two-division champion, but there simply aren’t any challengers there at the moment.

With that, Nunes will return to bantamweight for her next fight. As of now, it appears that the UFC is leaning towards having former Ultimate Fighter winner, Julianna Pena (10-4) challenge Nunes. This is a decision that I don’t personally agree with.

While Pena has been vocal about her desire to fight Nunes, she’s ranked sixth in the division. She was put to sleep by Germaine De Randamie (10-4) just a few months ago. Having Pena jump the line just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me even if there’s beef there.

Trilogies or Beef?

In my opinion the two women I’m interested in Nunes fighting next at 135 is De Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko (20-3). Shevchenko and De Randamie both have something in common. They are unbeaten inside the UFC outside of their fights with Nunes.

Shevchenko is 0-2, but many (including myself) through that she actually won the second matchup with Nunes. The UFC’s flyweight champion is defending her title in April, and if she wins, we could see the trilogy.

However, out of the contenders at 135, nobody is more deserving than De Randamie. Yes, she’s lost to Nunes twice, but she’s beat everyone else at 135. She showed great improvement on the ground against Pena and she showed that she can strike with Nunes.

Ultimately, I believe the UFC will go down the path of Julianna Pena. Again, this is something I don’t agree with, but at the end of the day, the promotion does a lot of things that the media doesn’t agree with.

Does Julianna Pena deserve a title shot after UFC 257?

This past weekend at UFC 257, Julianna Pena (10-4) took on Sara McMann (12-6) on the prelims. After losing the first round, Pena performed very well on Saturday night and ended up pulling off a rear-naked choke in the third round.

It was a big win for Julianna Pena and the win put her at sixth in the UFC‘s bantamweight rankings. However, the headlines weren’t surrounding the performance. The headlines were around the post-fight interview.

After the fight was over, Pena called out the UFC‘s two-division champion, Amanda Nunes (20-4). Pena said that Nunes was ducking her and that a fight between the two women needed to be made.

Nunes immediately clapped back on Twitter saying, “Ducking? You couldn’t even make yourself a contender for me.” The notion that Amanda Nunes is ducking Julianna Pena is completely ridiculous and the callout didn’t make sense from that perspective.

I completely understand calling out the UFC champion. However, the reality is that Nunes has never dodged Pena. In fact, Nunes is correct in that Pena has lost both of her title eliminator fights that would have earned her a shot. So after her win at UFC 257, does Julianna Pena deserve the next shot?

A UFC title shot for Pena?

The simple answer her is no. Julianna Pena’s win at UFC 257 does not warrant a title shot. We can’t forget the fact that Pena was just put to sleep by Germaine De Randamie (10-4) a few months ago.

Julianna Pena is 2-2 since 2016 and neither one of those wins came against top five competition. That resume doesn’t warrant a shot at the UFC bantamweight title and the greatest of all time in Amanda Nunes.

For Pena to get a title shot, she’s going to need to beat someone in the UFC’s top five. However, I will say that nobody in front of her would make for a more compelling matchup against Nunes.

Nunes has already defeated de Randamie twice and she knocked out Holly Holm (14-5). The two most compelling contenders outside of Holm and de Randamie are Pena and Aspen Ladd (9-1). Ladd is currently recovering from a knee injury.

I think the best play for the UFC is to pair up Holm against de Randamie for the second time. In addition, they should book Pena against Aspen Ladd. The winner of Ladd and Pena would provide a compelling new challenger for Amanda Nunes. However, to be clear, Julianna Pena shouldn’t jump the line.

UFC: State of the Amanda Nunes divisions entering 2021

As we get ready to enter 2021, the UFC‘s bantamweight and featherweight divisions are still controlled by the GOAT, Amanda Nunes (20-4). Nunes has held both titles since December of 2018 when she knocked out Cris Cyborg at UFC 232.

Since making her UFC debut back in 2013, Nunes has gone 13-1 with her lone loss coming to Cat Zingano. That fight occurred when Nunes will still coming into her own inside the octagon.

After that loss, she’s hardly looked human. Only Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie have even been competitive. Every one else has been destroyed by Nunes inside a UFC octagon.

In 2020, we only saw the two-division champion once. She defended her featherweight title against Felicia Spencer back at UFC 250. It was one of the more one-sided title fights you will ever see in the UFC.

Nunes was scheduled to face Megan Anderson (11-4) at UFC 256, but she had to pull out of the fight. The fight has been rescheduled and Megan Anderson will get her shot at the two-division champion at UFC 259.

UFC Bantamweight & Featherweight Overview

Nunes has said that she plans on being very active in 2021. She wants to defend both of her titles and her current plan is to fight at bantamweight after this first title defense against Megan Anderson at featherweight.

After Anderson, it’s not clear on what’s next for Nunes at featherweight. The UFC has been trying to acquire talent for that division, however, they still don’t have enough to even fill out the rankings.

Bantamweight is a different story. The clear number one contender in the division is de Randamie. Germaine de Randamie made her UFC debut back in 2013 and she has only been defeated twice in the octagon.

Both of those losses came to Amanda Nunes. Last December, the two fought at UFC 245. Nunes clearly won the fight, but de Randamie showed that she has the ability to stand up with the champion. De Randamie just fought and put Julianna Pena to sleep with a choke in October.

A fight that I could see the UFC doing is the rematch between de Randamie and Holly Holm. Holm is the former bantamweight champion and she’s won two straight. Her last performance against Irene Aldana was sensational.

Holm and de Randamie fought for the featherweight title back in 2017 with de Randamie edging that one out. I could see the UFC putting those two together in a title eliminator while Nunes defends at featherweight.

While these divisions won’t see a lot of fresh faces and new contenders, it’s still going to be fun watching Nunes continue her UFC reign in 2021. Maybe someone can pull off a miracle and dethrone her. Time will tell on that one.

State of the bantamweight division after UFC Fight Island 4

UFC Fight Island 4 was a big night for the women’s bantamweight division. On the main card you had four of the top six contenders in the bantamweight division in action. The champion, Amanda Nunes, had her eyes on the action on Saturday.

In the main event of UFC Fight Island 4, Holly Holm (14-5) took on Irene Aldana (12-6). A fight that was being hyped up as a competitive striking match proved to be anything but. Instead of a competitive fight, Holm completely dominated Aldana over the course of five rounds.

The former UFC bantamweight champion made a big statement on Saturday. Earlier in the evening the top ranked bantamweight contender, Germaine de Randamie (10-4) was also in action. The former featherweight champion took on Juliana Pena (9-4).

This fight proved to be much more competitive than the main event. Both ladies had clearly won a round entering the third in final round. Pena tried to be aggressive, but she ended up getting caught in a guillotine choke. The former UFC champion tightened the choke and put Pena out.

It was a big night for the top two contenders in the bantamweight division. Both de Randamie and Holm were very impressive, however, there’s not a clear number one contender after Saturday. However, there appears to be a clear path for what’s next.

What should the UFC do?

The greatest women’s fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes, will be defending her featherweight title later this year at UFC 256. The double champion is expected to drop back down to defend her bantamweight title at some point in 2021.

With Nunes planning on returning, the path for the UFC is pretty clear. The promotion needs to pair up de Randamie and Holm again after Saturday night. These two ladies have history that dates back to UFC 208.

Holm and de Randamie headlined that PPV which crowned the first UFC women’s featherweight champion. De Randamie won on the scorecards, but it was a fight that was littered with controversy. De Randamie hit Holm after the bell following multiple rounds.

While de Randamie won three rounds, many believed she should’ve had a point taken away which would have made the fight a draw. Instead, de Randamie walked out as the UFC‘s featherweight champion. However, nobody felt great about the result.

There has never been a more perfect time to run this fight back. These two are the top ranked contenders in the bantamweight division, and it’s going to take some time before Nunes is ready to defend the title. The winner of the rematch would present a clear top challenger for the GOAT.

Germaine de Randamie puts Juliana Pena to sleep at UFC Fight Island 4

One of the more anticipated matchups of UFC Fight Island 4 was the bantamweight contest between Germaine de Randamie (10-4) and Juliana Pena (9-4). De Randamie was looking to bounce back after her title loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 245.

The fight started out very well for the former UFC featherweight champion. De Randamie was doing a really good job in the first round of stifling Pena from distance. De Randamie seemed to hurt Pena a few times in the exchanges.

However, a very game Pena just ate every shot de Randamie threw her at her in the first round. In the second round, Pena was able to land a takedown early on. After that, Pena controlled most of the second round from the top position.

However, late in the round, a scramble found de Randamie on top. Surprisingly, de Randamie almost locked up a choke at the end of the round. It really showed off the evolution of the former UFC featherweight champion.

In the third and final round of the fight, Pena tried to put a lot of pressure on de Randamie. About halfway through the round, Pena landed a takedown, but landed right into a guillotine choke. De Randamie tightened the choke and put Pena to sleep. A massive win for the former UFC champ.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 4

In my opinion, it’s very clear that de Randamie is the top contender in the bantamweight division. However, it’s going to be hard for de Randamie to get another title shot soon after just losing to Amanda Nunes in December.

Not only did she lose, but it was the second time that she has been defeated by the UFC champ. There are not a lot of viable challengers out there for Amanda Nunes. However, de Randamie is one despite the fact that she’s lost twice to her.

I think a reasonable next step for de Randamie would be fighting the winner of tonight’s main event. I think paring her against the winner of that fight would establish a clear next challenger for Amanda Nunes’ UFC bantamweight title.

UFC Fight Island 4 Preview: Does Holly Holm have one more title run in her?

Tomorrow night, the UFC returns for their fourth fight night card on Fight Island. In the main event of the evening, we have a women’s bantamweight contest between former champion Holly Holm (13-5) and Irene Aldana (12-5).

Holm just turned 38 years old a couple of months ago, but the former UFC champion wants to capture gold one more time before she hangs it up. Saying this week at the media day that she wants to retire as UFC champion.

Irene Aldana is looking for the biggest win of her UFC career tomorrow night. Aldana is coming off of a huge knockout of Ketlen Vieira back in December last year at UFC 245. A win over Holm could give Aldana a shot Amanda Nunes.

Holm vs Aldana Prediction

This is a very intriguing matchup on paper for the UFC. Aldana has really crisp boxing skills which could give her some big moments on the feet. However, she’s going up against an elite striker who’s a former world champion in boxing.

Despite her credentials, Holm has been more of a point fighter in her UFC career. She has two highlight reel headkick knockouts, but outside of that, it’s usually not the most entertaining fight when Holm is in the cage.

She didn’t impress anyone back at UFC 246 in her rematch with Raquel Pennington. Holm used a lot of grappling and clinching to point her way to a decision. Even when she’s striking, she uses kicks to score points and keep range versus doing serious damage.

Aldana has very good pop in her hands. She can crack with the best of them at 135 pounds. Her knockout of Vieira is truly something special to watch as she used a jumping left hook to floor the previously unbeaten Brazilian.

Aldana is a very intriguing fighter in the division considering she’s won of the few that hasn’t fought Amanda Nunes yet. She’s 5-1 in her last six fights with the lone loss being a very close split decision loss to Raquel Pennington.

In this fight, I’m not really liking Aldana’s chances. While she certainly has the skills to get it done, I’m afraid she’s going to be out-pointed by Holm. Look for Holm to use her kicks and mix in some grappling to keep Aldana guessing and off her game.

Prediction: Holly Holm by Unanimous Decision

Rest of UFC Fight Island 4

There are some pretty decent fights on the UFC Fight Island 4 card. It’s not the sexiest card in the world, but there are some interesting fights. One of the earlier fights in the evening features the return of Carlos Condit (30-13) taking on Court McGee (19-9).

The fight I’m really looking forward to is the bantamweight contest between Germaine de Randamie (9-4) and Julianna Pena (9-3). To me this fight is better than the UFC Fight Island 4 main event. I think whoever wins the most impressively out of those two contests could be the next UFC title challenger.

UFC: Germaine de Randamie – Juliana Pena on tap October 3rd fight night

The UFC is close to finalizing a key women’s bantamweight matchup for their October 3rd fight night card. Per MMA Fighting, Germaine de Randamie (9-4) will take on Juliana Pena (9-3) in a matchup of top five bantamweights.

Next UFC title challenger?

The winner of this matchup could determine who will get the next shot at the UFC‘s bantamweight title. For de Randamie, she’s gone 6-2 in her UFC career with her two losses coming against the champion, Amanda Nunes.

The two ladies fought back in December for the bantamweight title with Nunes taking the unanimous decision victory. De Randamie did have some bright spots in the last fight.

It will be interesting to see what the UFC does if de Randamie goes on to win this fight. She’s already ranked at the top of the division, but she does have two losses to the current champion so it would be difficult booking a third matchup.

For Pena, the October 3rd fight will be her first fight of 2020 and just her second fight since the beginning of 2017. In her UFC career, she’s gone 5-1 with her lone loss coming to UFC flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko.

Both of these women are elite and it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. De Randamie is arguably the most decorated striker in the division while Pena is very good on the ground. A clash of styles for the October 3rd Fight Night.