Reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, who also wears gold in the featherweight class, has let it be known that she doesn’t expect much resistance from 135-pound contender Julianna Pena in the UFC 265 co-main event this August.
But current women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, no stranger to wars against both Nunes and Pena, believes it would be a tactical error to overlook “The Venezuelan Vixen,” a massive betting underdog at +525.
“I think Julianna has a lot of chances, and definitely she poses a lot of physical challenges to Amanda, a lot of grappling maybe,” Shevchenko told Middle Easy. “This is what she’s going to do, right? She’s not going to stand with Amanda and strike with her and decide who has the stronger punch. I don’t think this is the idea of the fight, and I think she has a lot of opportunities to find the key for victory. It’s MMA, you never know what’s going to happen the next second.”
Nunes (21-4) is the winner of 12 straight with eight finishes, including her submission victory over Megan Anderson at UFC 259 in Las Vegas. Pena (10-4), currently ranked No. 6 at 135 pounds, was last seen choking out Sara McMann at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.
Shevchenko (21-3) is undefeated since dropping to flyweight in early 2018.
“Bullet” is expected to hang around at 125 pounds for the foreseeable future and will likely make her next title defense against Lauren Murphy. That said, an upset win for Pena could be enough to compel Shevchenko to make another run at the bantamweight strap.