Monday, August 15, 2022

Julianna Pena calls for trilogy after UFC 277 loss to Amanda Nunes as champion criticizes Valentina Shevchenko

Julianna Pena wants another crack at UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. Pena called for a trilogy fight against Nunes after failing to retain the title in their second fight at UFC 277 over the weekend.

Pena achieved one of the biggest upsets in UFC history with a second-round submission win over Nunes at UFC 269 in December. Pena entered Saturday’s rematch as a much smaller underdog, but the outcome better reflected the odds of their first fight. Nunes dropped Pena three times en route to a severely lopsided unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) loss.

“Tougher than a two-dollar steak,” Pena wrote on Instagram. “Thanks for the love everyone! Just a cat scratch that required a few stitches, no chunks missing, no surgery necessary. Love you all! We’re 1-1 now.”

Pena capped off her post with hashtags including “#trilogy” and “#PenavsNunes3.”

Another trilogy fight potentially in the mix is a super fight between Nunes, who also holds the UFC women’s featherweight championship, and women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. The 125-pound champion teased Nunes online after the fight.

Nunes bit back, arguing that Shevchenko was on her way to losing to Taila Santos before an accidental head-butt changed the tide of the fight.

“That’s funny,” Nunes said in her post-fight media scrum. “She has to put out there something to stand out, because right now, as a champion, Valentina, she lost her last fight. I really think if Taila doesn’t get that headbutt, that fight could have been way different.”

Nunes welcomed a third fight against Shevchenko.

“Good. She’s a champion too,” Nunes said of the possibility. “That would be awesome.”

Nunes beat Shevchenko via a unanimous decision in 2016. Their second fight was contested the next year over five rounds for Nunes’ bantamweight championship. “The Lioness” retained her title by split decision in a fight many believe should have been scored for Shevchenko. “The Bullet” subsequently dropped to flyweight, winning the vacant belt and notching seven title defenses to date.

UFC president Dana White is also open to Nunes-Shevchenko 3.

“That’s not a bad idea,” White said at his post-fight scrum. “Normally I would say, ‘Come on, man.’ That’s not a bad idea really, when you think about it. I’m not saying yes, I’m just saying it’s not a bad idea.”

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