Amanda Nunes goes back to the Octagon this weekend, headlining UFC 250 behind closed doors at the promo’s own Apex facility in Las Vegas, and few fans are expecting anything aside from another legacy-lifting program of dominance from the simultaneous two-weight world champ.
Montreal Maths teacher turned top contender Felicia Spencer will be in the opposing corner in the early hours of Sunday morning (UK), when Brazilian-born however Florida-based Nunes will intend to successfully defend the UFC featherweight champion for the very first time after back-to-back defences of her bantamweight crown.
Unbeaten in her last 10 fights, ‘The Lioness’ has actually developed into the best champion in the history of females’s mixed martial arts. Inside 6 years, she’s not just declared the scalps of her biggest rivals, but devoured their own designs on achievement at the same time.
Marvelously, neither Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg or Holly Holm – all former champions – made it out of the opening round. Whilst Nunes has actually likewise defeated present flyweight champ Valentina Schevchenko twice throughout her recent impressive run of successes.
With light-heavyweight Jon Jones and flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo recently relinquishing their title belts, there is a genuine argument that Nunes, above all others on the UFC roster, is the pound-for-pound best fighter in combined martial arts today.
A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the 32- year-old is exceptional on the ground, however she’s always favoured stand-up and it’s the advancement of her striking that has enabled Nunes to press the ceiling in what female fighters can.
And it’s not only the capability that sets the double champion apart. A huge part of her success is down to fiancee Nina Ansaroff, herself a UFC strawweight contender. Their romance has assisted to build the most formidable fighter ladies’s Mixed Martial Arts has ever seen. Nunes’ focus and strength is incomparable.
Sending Tate to win UFC gold, then beating Rousey into early retirement sent shock waves through the sport.
However it was her first-round obliteration of Cyborg that took Nunes’ tradition to the next level. An underdog, she wrecked the script, ended her fellow Brazilian’s 20- battle hot streak, ignoring the 17 knockouts on Cyborg’s ledger, to destroy her in 51 seconds.
What is it that makes Nunes so formidable?
Here are 3 attributes in her fighting design to keep an eye out for, and ways in which Spencer might have the ability to circumnavigate the risks to find success of her own.
1. Range control
Nunes is a master of range and uses leg kicks to keep her challengers at the end of her strikes and also take the legs from under them. Calf kicks, inside kicks and teep kicks to the stomach are all tools she uses to make sure rivals remain at completion of her long strikes.
When she took the 135 pound title from Tate, Nunes utilized her full toolbox of kicks to keep her challenger from closing the distance, before busting her up with overhand rights. More recently, she utilised low kicks to chop down Raquel Pennington’s striking base.
From the opening bell, Spencer must apply smart pressure. Closing the distance rapidly to push Nunes onto the backfoot and trapping her against the fence is key to use down the champ. Heavy elbows and knees to the stomach and thighs could settle later on and take away Nunes’ movement, whilst trips and hip tosses enable energy-taxing control.
2. Body power
Nunes’ capability to brush off takedown efforts and push back out of the clinch are fundamental to her capability to keep the fight where she desires it – at arm’s reach. Her upper body strength, at bantamweight at least, is conclusive.
After getting harmed on the feet, Tate tried to utilise her fumbling skills to suppress Nunes, but she quickly discovered herself tummy down and after that tapping from a rear naked choke. Similarly, Sara McMann’s wrestling prowess meant she started as preferred when paired with Nunes in 2015, but the Olympic silver medallist stopped working to keep Nunes on the ground and, when she did, she ended up tapping out too.
However, unrelenting fumbling and recovering from takedowns is stressful and with Nunes having actually never combated a full 25 minutes at 145 pound, there are concerns around how the extra 10 lb will impact on her cardio. Spencer’s grinding design can take its toll – if she can get the champion into deep water.
Undoubtedly the biggest tool in Nunes’ arsenal is her boxing. Slick head movement and sound footwork complement a heavy overhand right and hectic left jab. The champ has actually shown time and again that when it concerns a toe-to-toe firefight she’s got the power and precision to end up anyone.
Rousey’s false sense of security in her own striking game made their battle arguably the most convenient of Nunes’ profession. Rousey’s looping punches were no match for the champ’s straight strikes. And, in supposedly her toughest test, Nunes went toe-to-toe with Cyborg to prove her boxing was levels above even the most feared puncher in females’s MMA history.
What opportunity of an upset this weekend?
If Spencer can get out of the first 10 minutes when Nunes is at her most dangerous … If the champion, utilized to combating in jam-packed arenas, is discovered desiring for motivation with no fans in the Peak … If Spencer can take advantage of having her first UFC centerpiece happen without the pressure of those fans … then possibly, just perhaps we might have an upset.
However, Nunes’ CV of destruction recommends another extremely one-sided display screen from the sport’s greatest woman fighter this weekend.
I’m anticipating a couple of rounds as Spencer isn’t ignorant adequate to stand and trade with the champion. Anticipate a submission to strikes or to rear naked choke prior to the championship rounds.
- ‘ Losing battle injured more than injuries’ – Jedrzejczyk
- Burns stuns Woodley at UFC Fight Night
- The street fighter who ended up being the UFC’s ‘baddest’
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe