Julianna Peña broke the bank by submitting Amanda Nunes in December last year and taking the bantamweight belt (up to 61.2kg) from the Brazilian. But the 32-year-old American understood that she would need a rematch to clear any doubts from anyone who doubted her achievement. That’s what she’s focused on doing this Saturday in Dallas in the main event of UFC 277. Julianna wants to show the world that it wasn’t a fluke and that she truly deserves to be the UFC champion.
– There’s a part of me that wants to keep it professional (and not take it personally) and I do a good job of it. But at the same time, it’s a little personal because she makes me feel or tries to make me believe the things she says to herself. And it’s funny to me because it’s like, “You know you’re not the champion. You’ll never be the champion. You don’t even believe it,” but wait a minute, I said exactly what I would do. I said what I would do five years ago and I went there and did just that. I’m not making it up, I’m not getting it out of my ass. Everything that has happened in my career and journey is 110% fact. I’m not trying to provoke. I’m not trying to disrespect you in any way. I said what I needed to say to receive the fight, now I have the fight. There’s not much more to say outside of defending (the belt). I’ll let her say what she wants. But as for my game, I just need to focus on myself and what I can do – said the fighter in an exclusive interview with Combat.
Julianna Peña faces a rematch with Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 to defend the bantamweight title — Photo: Evelyn Rodrigues
The “Venezuelan Shrew”, as Julianna Peña is nicknamed by her Latin descent on her father’s side, hopes to find the best version of Amanda Nunes in the cage, precisely to avoid doubts if she wins again.
– I wrote down all the changes and just resumed my normal training. I think the most important thing is that she is in her best possible condition, the best Amanda Nunes we have ever seen, because then there will be no more excuses (…). I expect her faster, stronger and better. I hope she’s more explosive. I hope she runs at me with everything she’s got. I’ll be ready for whatever she brings and ready to react to anything.
After submitting the Brazilian in the second round at UFC 269, in Las Vegas, Julianna Peña this time prefers not to make predictions about how the fight might end. He just wants to win and convince.
– I don’t know how I’m going to win. I just know that I will do everything in my power and that I will win. If it comes by submission, it will be by submission. If it comes by knockout, it will be knockout. I don’t know. I can’t say when, I can’t say where, I can’t say how, I can only hand it all over to God and let Him take care of the rest. I have faith and hope that this will be enough.
Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes fight for the bantamweight belt this Saturday after the American wins her first duel — Photo: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
The TUF 18 champion and bantamweight champion, with an 11-4 record, has grandiose career goals, and that includes winning this Saturday’s rematch.
– It’s my chance to breathe, it’s my chance to build my legacy. It’s my chance to establish my name in UFC history and put another ruby in my belt, so that I can one day be part of the UFC Hall of Fame, which I dream and desire so much. I have to enjoy every moment I have.
This Saturday, the Combat broadcasts “UFC 277” live and exclusively from 19:00 (Brasilia time). O combat.com transmits the “Combat Warming” and the first two fights from 18:30, as well as the SportTV 3 it’s the Combat YouTube. The website follows the event in real time.
July 30, 2022 in Dallas (USA)
MAIN CARD (23:00 GMT):
Bantamweight: Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunes
Flyweight: Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France
Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis vs Sergei Pavlovich
Flyweight: Alexandre Pantoja vs Alex Perez
Light Heavyweight: Magomed Ankalaev vs Anthony Smith
PRELIMINARY CARD (7 pm, Brasília time):
Welterweight: Alex Morono vs Matt Semelsberger
Lightweight: Drew Dober vs Rafael Alves
Heavyweight: Don’Tale Mayes vs Hamdy Abdelwahab
Lightweight: Drakkar Klose vs Rafa Garcia
Welterweight: Michael Morales vs Adam Fugitt
Bantamweight: Joselyne Edwards vs Ji Yeon Kim
Light Heavyweight: Nicolae Negumereanu vs Ihor Potieria
Welterweight: Orion Cosce vs Mike Mathetha
UFC 277: Amanda Nunes seeks to regain her belt live in Combat!