The main event for UFC 224 is a match-up between the UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes versus the #2 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Raquel Pennington.
UFC 224: Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington fight preview
MMA Record: 15-4-0
UFC Record: 8-1-0
Last Fight: Split decision win against Valentina Shevchenko
Fighter skills and tendencies: Amanda Nunes is the reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion. She has looked quite impressive during her recent six-fight win streak. Nunes tends to use forward pressure along with feints and a pawing jab to open up her striking game. Her favorite weapons are a powerful 1-2 combination, strong leg kicks, and a good front kick to the body.
Nunes possesses a powerful and fairly effective wrestling game, where she uses her tenacity to string takedown attempts together until she gets her opponents on their backs. Once the fight has hit the mat, she waits to capitalize on tactical errors so she can utilize her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt skills and look for a submission.
In the past, Nunes would have issues regulating her gas tank and slow down significantly in the later rounds of her fights. But in her last fight against Valentina Shevchenko, she showed improvement in this area. With appropriate pacing, she had plenty of cardio for all five rounds of their championship bout.
MMA Record: 9-5-0
UFC Record: 6-2-0
Last Fight: Unanimous decision win against Miesha Tate
Fighter skills and tendencies: Raquel Pennington is on a four-fight win streak that has included victories over Miesha Tate, Elizabeth Phillips, Bethe Correia, and Jessica Andrade. She is a counter striker, utilizing a strong jab along with a sharp straight right. “Rocky” is usually able to earn her opponents’ respect quickly.
She has high-level takedown defense, where she uses her sprawl and a variety of front chokes to gain the upper hand in grappling positions. Pennington also likes to use the clinch to grind down her foes and damage them with hard punches. Her cardio is one of her best attributes, her work rate doesn’t slow down from the first round until the final bell rings.
This fight is between two combatants who are in the midst of their fighting primes. It is likely the championship bout will spend most of its duration in the distance striking realm. This would be bad news for Pennington. The dramatic, power striking of Amanda Nunes will likely do lasting damage and make an impression on the judges. Neither fighter is unhittable, but it is possible that Pennington is severely outgunned.
Prediction: Nunes via unanimous decision
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