It took longer than expected due to this, but Amanda Nunes earned her second Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title defense last Saturday night (Sept. 9, 2017) by edging out Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (recap here).
After 25 minutes of action, “Lioness” did enough in the eyes of the judges to walk away with a split-decision victory, one that didn’t sit too well with “Bullet,” who took to the post-fight presser to plead for a trilogy fight. It likely won’t happen, as Nunes now has two victories over Shevchenko and as history has shown, getting a trilogy fight after going 0-2 is nearly impossible.
As for what’s next for Nunes, it looks like the Brazilian will undergo surgery to correct the lingering sinus issues that booted her from UFC 213, which means a return to the cage is unlikely until 2018.
“I think I’m going to take some time off because this is my breathing, and I have to take care of it,” Nunes said at the UFC 215 post-fight press conference (watch it). “Sometimes, I can’t sleep at night. I think I’m going to take a break, and next year, I will come back.”
When she does come back, a potential title defense against Raquel Pennington seems like the most likely scenario.
“Rocky” is the only woman at 135 pounds other than Nunes with a winning streak, gobbling up four straight victories since losing to Holly Holm back in 2015. Speaking of which, Holm — who is 1-3 in her last four outings — is ranked higher than Pennington, which makes no sense. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that Pennington has earned her spot, albeit quietly, which is probably why some don’t feel she’s in the running.
She doesn’t talk, she rarely does interviews, she’s not in the spotlight, she just simply gets in there, gets shit done and walks away with wins.
Ronda Rousey isn’t walking through the mixed martial arts (MMA) door anytime soon, Julianna Pena is looking to for a new lease on her combat sports life in another division, Holm has her eyes set on Cris Cyborg and Shevchenko will simply have to wait for another turn.
It just makes sense.
Pennington hasn’t competed since retiring Miesha Tate at UFC 205 last November, so she’s more than ready to get back into the swing of things. Prior to that, “Rocky” took out former title contenders Jessica Andrade and Bethe Correia, so her time for a shot at gold is now.
She may not be as polished in the striking game as Nunes, but she is as tough and durable as they come and will be more than a challenge for the Brazilian bomber. Don’t sleep on Pennington, as she can very well upset the champ and continue the revolving door of new title holders that’s been going on in the division since Rousey was dethroned.
For complete UFC 215 “Nunes vs. Shevchenko” results and play-by-play, click HERE!