Julianna Pena believes she’s been a positive for Amanda Nunes’ career.
Unfortunately for the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight champion, Pena is missing out on her shot at redemption against her all-time great rival. The “Venezuelan Vixen” was supposed to challenge Nunes in a trilogy bout at UFC 289 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada this weekend (Sat., June 10, 2023) until a broken rib forced her from the bout.
Nunes is now set to defend her Bantamweight title against Mexico’s Irene Aldana in the UFC 289 main event. Thankfully for Nunes, Pena came along before this fight to give her a much-needed boost in notoriety, believes Pena.
“Everybody always has that one person that’s just stuck in their butt and that’s me for Amanda,” Pena told Shakiel Mahjouri. “I know that she knows that. I think at the end of the day she’s probably really thankful for me making her relevant again when I beat her because no one really cared about Amanda Nunes because she was just stomping everybody out and knocking them out in the first round. So, I think that they were excited to see somebody come in and stop her dead in her tracks with dominance and I think they were excited to see the savagery and the heart that I had. The determination to never give up in the second fight and unfortunately for me, I ran out of time.”
Pena’s second round rear-naked choke victory (watch highlights) over Nunes in Dec. 2021 will live on forever in mixed martial arts (MMA) history as one of the sport’s biggest upsets. However, Pena’s reign was short-lived as Nunes righted her wrongs in the rematch in July 2022, dominating Pena en route to a unanimous decision (watch highlights).
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 289 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early “Prelims” matches at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, followed by the remaining “Prelims” undercard balance at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, before the final PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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