Described as ‘the biggest upset in the history of the sport’ by UFC co-commentator Joe Rogan, a fierce matchup between champion Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes was destined to happen as soon as ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ submitted the greatest women’s fighter in the UFC’s history.
After a year of coaching heavyweights and flyweights on the UFC’s reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, the two meet once again in front of a packed crowd in Dallas, Texas.
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Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas, United States
When: Saturday 30th July, from 11pm BST
How To Watch: Watch the early prelims from 11pm on UFC Fight Pass. The card is live on BT Sport 1 from 1am.
Pena vs Nunes:
Back in December 2021, Julianna Pena shocked the world by dethroning the undefeatable Amanda Nunes, who had barely lost a round since claiming her belt, never mind an actual fight.
After an intense first round of standing and banging, Pena was floored by the pace of her opponent. Still, Nunes’ relentless energy became her enemy as the fatigue set in and she began to get tagged in exchanges. Before she knew it, Nunes was put to the ground and caught in a rear-naked choke which she quickly tapped from.
Now Nunes finds herself in the red corner for the first time in a long while. Pena is brimming with confidence and energy, and the focus will not be on what new techniques the pair have learned, or what battle plan they hold, but rather on how much they want to win.
Nunes still holds an immense power advantage, but Pena has proven her resilience and chin in the first round of their last fight. These two are very well suited to fight each other and don’t be surprised to see this fight for a third time at some point in the next 18 months, regardless of the result this weekend.
Moreno vs Kara-France:
The interim flyweight title is at stake as two 135-pounders go at it in a rematch that’s sure to blow the roof off of the American Airlines Center.
Brandon Moreno, a former champion who most recently lost his title to Deiveson Figueiredo, is expected to get back in the cage and fight for his lost title again soon. To settle whether he deserves a fourth shot at the ‘God of War’, he faces New Zealand’s Kai Kara-France, who has been dispatching opponents for fun with a 4-1 record since his loss to Moreno back at UFC 245.
Kara-France had huge knockout wins over Rogerio Bontorin and Cody Garbrandt last year. He displayed his skills against the impressive Askar Askarov in March, earning him his shot at the interim title this weekend.
Moreno is very much a grappler, often mixing up his Muay Thai with lethal elbows and knees so Kara-France will need to show off the same defensive skills he utilised in his last fight to stand a chance at getting one over on his former opponent.
Other Fights To Watch:
Also on the main card is Derrick Lewis, facing Russian prospect Sergei Pavlovich. Lewis will be defending the top of the heavyweight division from the Russian, putting him through his paces to test whether he is worthy of earning ‘title contender’ status.
Flyweight contenders Alexandre Pantoja and Alex Perez also face each other, with Pantoja returning to the cage after a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of 2021 and up to now. His opponent, Perez, has been out even longer, with his last fight against the aforementioned Figueiredo at UFC 255 in November 2020.
The first fight on the main card is two light heavyweights, Magomed Ankalaev and Anthony Smith. Smith has fought his way back towards the top of the tree, with first-round stoppages over Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute and Ryan Spann, however, Ankalaev enters the arena in Dallas on an eight-fight hot streak. It’s sure to be a great test for both men, with the victor looking to climb the ladder closer to a title shot at champion Jiri Prochazka.
Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunes (Bantamweight Title)
Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France (Flyweight Interim Title)
Derrick Lewis vs Sergei Pavlovich (Heavyweight)
Alexandre Pantoja vs Alex Perez (Flyweight)
Anthony Smith vs Magomed Ankalaev (Light Heavyweight)
Alex Morono vs Matthew Semelsberger (Welterweight)
Drew Dober vs Rafael Alves (Lightweight)
Don’Tale Mayes vs Hamdy Abdelwahab (Heavyweight)
Drakkar Klose vs Rafa Garcia (Lightweight)
Michael Morales vs Adam Fugitt (Welterweight)
Joselyne Edwards vs Ji Yeon Kim (Bantamweight)
Nicolae Negumereanu vs Ihor Potieria (Light Heavyweight)
Orion Cosce vs Mike Mathetha (Welterweight)
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