Julianna Pena feels Amanda Nunes’ first true battle ahead of their clash was against the scale.
Pena challenged Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 269. Nunes was the reigning, defending UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, while Pena was a massive underdog. Betting odds be damned as Pena pulled off the upset with a second-round submission finish.
Julianna Pena Talks Amanda Nunes’ Weight-Cutting Struggles
Julianna Pena was interviewed by FOX Sports and she admitted that she believes Nunes gassed quickly due to having issues with weight cutting (h/t MMANews.com).
“I think that she had two fights her entire camp leading up to this fight. Her first fight was gonna be her weight cut and trying to get her body back down to fighting at bantamweight. And her second fight was gonna be (against) me. Whereas I only had one fight the entire time and that was me focusing on just Amanda, not having to make weight, not having to make such a drastic weight cut. (It was) something that I never had to take into consideration during my camp. I am a natural 135lber.
“I knew that she was going to be struggling to make that weight, and that was gonna be the first battle she’d have to overcome. With that being said, she was gassed after the first, and I could hear that. I could feel it. I could just hear that heavy breathing in my ear. I knew that was, like I’ve been saying the whole time, the key to success there—just to wear her out, get her tired.”
Nunes definitely didn’t perform to the level that fight fans have come to expect from “The Lioness.” Even so, one can’t deny that Pena had all the confidence in the world and she showed up to do exactly what she said she would.