[RANK5=John Hyon Ko] Even though the rumors of a “Cyborg” Justino versus Amanda Nunes fight were swirling after UFC 222, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has decided to go in another direction and have the Women’s Bantamweight Champion defend her title against Raquel Pennington in Rio de Janerio, Brazil at UFC 224 on May 12.
Nunes, the American Top Team staple, has won six consecutive fights. During this streak, she defeated Valentina Shevchenko twice, devastatingly finished Ronda Rousey, and choked Miesha Tate to take the Bantamweight crown. This will be her third title defense and 10th fight under the UFC banner.
The 29-year-old Pennington has quietly put together four straight wins over top ten competition such as Miesha Tate, Bethe Correia, and Jessica Andrade to earn a shot at ten pounds of gold. Her only loses with the promotion were via split decision to former bantamweight champ Holly Holms and Jessica Andrade.
While Pennington goes into this bout as a major underdog, she has made a career out of winning fights she was supposed to lose. This makes the title tilt with Nunes somewhat interesting.
In addition to this championship headliner, some major middleweight tussles were announced between Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort as well as “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza and Kelvin Gastelum.