Women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes will defend her title against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 on May 12th in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Originally it seemed the UFC’s plan was to have Nunes move up to featherweight for a superfight with the champion of the division, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino at UFC 226 in July, but though both parties are on-board with the idea, they’ve each now signed up for other bouts in the meantime.
‘Cyborg’ recently stepped in as a late replacement headliner for UFC 222 on March 3rd in Las Vegas against former Invicta FC champion Yana Kunitskaya, and now Nunes has agreed to fight ‘Rocky,’ only two months before the superfight was due to take place.
‘The Lioness’ heads into the fight on a six-fight winning streak, during which time she won the 135lb title by submitting Miesha Tate in the first round, and has since successfully defended it twice against Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko.
Meanwhile, after an indifferent 2-2 start to her UFC run, the 29-year-old Pennington has tapped into a rich vein of form that’s seen her go unbeaten in her last four fights.
It all started with a submission win over Jessica Andrade, and she’s since beaten Bethe Correia, Elizabeth Phillips and most recently retired Miesha Tate.
That winning streak has seen ‘Rocky’ rise to the No.3 spot in the bantamweight rankings, but she hasn’t fought in well over a year, so it’s a big ask to return against the most dominant fighter in the division.
It’s not clear yet if Nunes Vs Pennington will headline UFC 224, but it’s the first title fight announced for the Rio show and joins other big fights like Vitor Belfort Vs Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza Vs Kelvin Gastelum on the main card.