When Ronda Rousey was at her peak, there was nobody that could touch her. At that point, there were not that many female fighters that could be considered the face of the UFC.
Enter Amanda Nunes.
Coming into UFC 239 inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Amanda Nunes has proven just how valuable she could be inside the octagon. On a ten-fight win streak, it is hard to believe the Women’s Featherweight and Bantamweight Champion hasn’t been pushed enough as one would think. Defending her Bantamweight Championship this time around, that can change with a win against Holly Holm.
Nunes (17-4) is known for her lightning-fast hands and extreme power. After occasionally fighting for Strikeforce and Invicta, “The Lioness” beat Sheila Gaff via TKO in her UFC debut. She did the same thing against Germaine de Randamie before losing to Cat Zingano at UFC 178 via TKO. Since then? Nunes has put on clinics against a murderers’ row of opponents:
- Shayna Baszler (UFC Fight Night 62) via leg kick
- Sarah McMann (UFC Fight Night 73) via submission
- Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 196 and UFC 215) via split and unanimous decision
- Miesha Tate (UFC 200) via submission
- Ronda Rousey (UFC 207) via TKO
- Raquel Pennington (UFC 224) via TKO
- Cris Cyborg (UFC 232) via KO)
The Rousey bludgeoning and Cyborg knockout launched her career into the stratosphere. A win against Holm (12-4), the first woman to beat Rousey and someone who’s taken Cyborg to the limit, could move Nunes up as one of the all-time greats in MMA today.
In order to become a true legend killer (sharing the name with Randy Orton), Nunes must work against the superb footwork of Holm, a kickboxing champion. 2-4 in her last six fights, Holm is still an incredibly dangerous fighter, something Nunes is used to. Considering only two of Nunes’ fights have past three rounds, it will be a true test of endurance for her against someone who is used to going ten rounds.
Compared to previous bouts (yes, even Nunes v. Cyborg), this seems like a true even matchup based off of skills alone. If Nunes can take Holm down to the mat, it is all over. If Holly can get close to Nunes while forcing her to move more frequently than normal, she may very well tire the champion out.
While everyone has been talking about Jon Jones and Thiago Santos, and rightfully so, Nunes v. Holm is a bout that can become a true Match of the Night contender. The top two combat sports fighters in the world are looking to shine bright within the biggest event in UFC history. In Nunes’ case, she can truly glow with another impressive win.