UFC 269 fight card primer: Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Peña

The co-main event of UFC 269 will feature a bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes (21-4 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and Julianna Peña (10-4 MMA,…

By: Kristen King | 2 years ago
UFC 269 fight card primer: Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Peña
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The co-main event of UFC 269 will feature a bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes (21-4 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and Julianna Peña (10-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC). UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier airs live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday, December 11th. The main card will start with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET/7.00 p.m. PT, with the ESPN/ESPN+ prelims beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and the early prelims kicking off at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Nunes: 33 years old | 5’8” | 69” reach

Peña: 32 years old | 5’7” | 69” reach

What have these two done recently?

Nunes: W – Megan Anderson (SUB) | W – Felicia Spencer (DEC) | W – Germaine de Randamie (DEC)

Peña: W – Sara McMann (SUB) | L – Germaine de Randamie (SUB) | W – Nicco Montaño (DEC)

How did these two get here?

Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Peña was years in the making, and we are finally about to see how a fight between these two women goes.

A technical knockout loss to Cat Zingano was a precursor of greatness for Nunes, who went on to earn wins over Shayna Baszler, Sara McMann and Valentina Shevchenko before being awarded her first title shot since joining the UFC. The ‘Lioness’ turned heads when she tore through an established veteran in Miesha Tate at UFC 200, where she quickly stunned and submitted ‘Cupcake’ in the opening round of their fight. Nunes’ reign of sheer and utter dominance continued as she dispatched of Ronda Rousey, Shevchenko again and Raquel Pennington over two years. What came next was a move up from bantamweight to featherweight to meet Cris Cyborg at UFC 232 in an attempt to become the next dual-champion of the UFC, with Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier being the first two to accomplish such a feat. In just 51 seconds, the dream was fully realized, and Nunes shocked the world by knocking out Cyborg for her second title. Since then, she has alternated between weight classes and successfully defended her titles in both, but has returned to 135 for this meeting with Peña.

Peña has worked hard for this moment since winning her season of The Ultimate Fighter with a first-round technical knockout of Jessica Rakoczy over eight years ago. The ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ had a shaky start to her UFC run after that, suffering a right knee injury in training that kept her out of action for more than year. She returned to the Octagon and rattled off three consecutive wins over Milana Dudieva, Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano. The win over Zingano was on the same night as Tate vs. Nunes, so she used the opportunity to plant the seeds for an eventual meeting with the newly crowned champion. It did not immediately come to fruition and both women fought against other contenders but soon found themselves back in each other’s paths. Peña went on to defeat Nicco Montaño and Sara McMann but fell against Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie in her past four outings. Back in the win column following her most recent win over McMann, Peña reignited calls to fight Nunes and said she believed the champ-champ was ducking her because she considers herself the worst stylistic matchup for her. After that, the fight was finally made official for UFC 265 in August. Unfortunately, Nunes tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was postponed until UFC 269 in December. The wait between dates has only intensified the rivalry between Nunes and Peña, and it comes to a head on Saturday night.

Why should you care?

The time for talk is over. Amanda Nunes either proves why Julianna Peña was wrong about her with all that pre-fight trash talk, or the challenger upsets the champion and dethrones the consensus GOAT of women’s MMA.

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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