Valentina Shevchenko believes Amanda Nunes will regain the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 277 against Julianna Pena.
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At UFC 277, Amanda Nunes challenges bantamweight champion Julianna Peña in a rematch of the December 2021 bout that saw Peña become one of the biggest upsets in UFC history when Nunes submitted in the second round to win the belt. But when the two step into the cage to square off this Saturday, Shevchenko believes Nunes will get the victory expected in the first bout.
“I think Amanda will [win],” Shevchenko said when asked on The MMA Hour if she thought Peña would win the rematch. I didn’t feel she didn’t perform the way she should have, I don’t know [what] factors played into it—family, boot camp, friends at the gym or whatever—but she didn’t look the same when we were fighting. She was completely different. Body type, mental type, focus type, completely different. So I think if it’s the same Amanda that I know, she’s going to win the fight.”
Valentina Shevchenko on the rematch
Shevchenko knows both women well, having fought with them before. The UFC flyweight champion dispatched Peña in 2017 and had two tough fights against Nunes, the second of which was for the bantamweight title. The fact that Nunes was able to defeat Shevchenko twice perhaps contributes to the champion’s conviction that she will win the championship, but “Bullet” also noted that Pea is not a simple opponent.
“It’s a battle. You can never predict what will occur “stated Shevchenko. Julianna is a determined competitor who understands she is under pressure to succeed and establish herself as a genuine champion. prepares for the fight like crazy, just gets rid of everything outside of the fight and just focuses on beating Amanda and getting her confirmation that she’s the real champion. She’s a very tough opponent, but I still think [Amanda will win]. But here it’s a lot of ‘ifs’.
“So we’ll see. We can say anything, but the fight is real and it will show who is the best.”
Peña and Nunes will square off in the main event of UFC 277, which takes place Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.