Nunes vs Pena
When you talk about being THE GOAT, people think it is glamorous when it is the farthest thing from that. Sure, when all is said and done it is a milestone that only 1 can be the leader in the dog house, and the money and fame that come with it is also nice. However, you have a target on your back morning and night. Everyone is looking to get your attention in a respectful or disrespectful way, people lining up with the hopes of dethroning the GOAT, and you having to protect the stigma and the legacy alike. It is a lot of pressure day in and day out and not many people can handle it. How Amanda has handled it like a perfect champion and a perfect role model for the GOAT’S throne. Outside of a few small incidents, Nunes has handled her run with a lot of class. With an overall record of 21-5, she has 13 KOS and 4 Submissions to her credit. In her Losses, she has been KO’D and Submitted 2 times a piece. Before losing the strap to Jessica Pena, Nunes tore off 12 straight fights, capturing 2 belts, and beating everyone in the divisions that the UFC can throw at her, including Valentina 2 times, Rousey, GDR, Holm, Cyborg, Tate, and more. Her resume speaks for itself and if anyone even argues her accolades, they need their heads examined. She takes on Juliana Pena, who seems to be her kryptonite right now. Pena has been screaming from the mountain top that she wanted this fight for a long time and it was getting a bit annoying to always hear her talking about it, but she knew something we didn’t, apparently because I was very confident in Nunes winning that fight to be jet set honest with you. I knew the grappling credentials of Pena, but I had no clue that she would be able to compete on her feet with Nunes. Until fight night. It started when Nunes walked into the cage, she just didn’t look like she was in very good shape after rehydrating. It didn’t seem like a clean hydration recovery. She also looked very flat and seemed like she had no cardio at all. It just didn’t look like Amanda. There was a part of me that thought to myself, “Did she literally get old in front of our eyes tonight or is Pena really that good”. Well it was surely Pena being very well prepared for this fight, but I really do believe that Amanda took this fight extremely lightly. I think her training was off, which will justify her body. I believe that covid tampered with her cardio pretty heavily, and I also believe that her knees really affected her movement there. So she was much more stationary than normal. Guys, this is NOT me taking anything away from Pena here, this is merely stating realistic situations that could have hindered Nunes performance the way it did. See if Pena caught Nunes in something and it was a right time right place situation, I would be able to accept it more. If it was a dragged out 5 round war, I would be able to accept it a little more. But to the uneducated Human eye that wouldn’t know these women, they would think Nunes didn’t deserve to be in the same cage as Pena, and that is where I know there was something functional going on that night. She made some of the most major adjustments in her career for this fight and she looks in tremendous shape, but leaving the gym and coaches that made you who you are is a little bit of a head scratcher. Amanda left ATT, the gym that really dialed her in and molded her into the fighter that she is today. When she was talking about it, it seemed very amicable, but then there were spots in the interview where you can see there were clear connection issues between fighter and coach. I think it was the attention Amanda thinks she needs for this camp or maybe feels that she didn’t receive in her last camp. In any event she is now training in her personal gym with chosen people rotating in and out. Personally? Me? This is the way I would want to train, but I would surely want my trainer guiding me through. In her case Mike Brown was one of those guys. I am not sure that this was a mistake or a Godsend. I can’t really answer all that right now, but what I am certain of is that you will see a much different Amanda Nunes on Saturday night. Deep down inside I think Pena knows that she didn’t get the best fighter in Nunes that night. Fighters know. They can feel it and I really believe that Pena knows that she caught Nunes on a bad night. I still think Pena is Uber confident in this fight. I believe Pena thinks that she is the better fighter, and I also think she really believes that this possible trilogy ends here. We always knew that Pena’s grappling was something special, but it was always her boxing that was a minor weak point. However, she has been training with someone that I know. He is the owner of Gregory Boxing in Chicago. Super intelligent guy when it comes to the science of boxing. I have had a few dragged out boxing convos with him and we didn’t agree on everything, but the guy is a wealth of knowledge and knows how to let the leather go. I remember the first time we talked about the fight, he literally didn’t hesitate and said “Pena wins that Fight”. So it is obvious that their camp is overly confident in Pena’s skills against anyone. However, I think the party ends here. If I had to really guess, Nunes was in 75% form, maybe even 65%. Between Covid, Camp issues that just don’t rise overnight, Knee Issues, starting the family, and other things. Deep down inside I think the masses know this and so does Pena. I am not saying that Pena can’t beat her because she sure as hell can. She has the momentum, she has the confidence and she has the skill set on the ground, but she knows that she is not going to be fighting the same fighter on Saturday night. Nunes comes in and shows the world why she is the greatest female to ever do it on Saturday night. From Horn to Horn in every round, you are going to see a very different fight. Nunes is going to be on the attack and will make it a point to show Pena that her conditioning woes were a one off, her power is very legit, and her grappling is far better than she showed in the first dance. I have nothing but respect for Pena, but this is Nunes’ fight to win.
The Pick: Nunes by KO/TKO

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