Reigning bantamweight Queen Amanda Nunes is set to put her 135 pound title on the line against former foe Valentina Shevchenko. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that both parties have agreed to the bout on Thursday.
There has been no official announcement from the UFC as yet, but it is believed the title fight will be added to July 8’s UFC 213 card at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting out of the elite American Top Team camp, Nunes has been on a tear in the UFC since losing to Cat Zingano in September 2014.
Last time out the Brazilian obliterated Ronda Rousey in under a minute to make the first successful defence of her bantamweight title. That was Nunes’ fifth straight win inside the octagon.
The Lioness won the title at UFC 200, submitting Miesha Tate after three minutes of equally violent action. The win made Nunes the first openly gay champion in UFC history and signalled a major changing of the guard at 135 pounds.
Wins over Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler were also one sided, however sandwiched in the middle of Nunes’ recent run was by far her most taxing assignment of the past two years. In March 2016 Nunes met Valentina Shevchenko for the first time in a fight that went to the judges.
Nunes grabbed the lead early, before dominating the fight in the second round. However, Shevchenko rocked the champion in the third round before pushing the pace hard all the way to the final bell. Two judges scored the contest 29-27, while a third turned in a 29-28 scorecard, all in favour of the Brazilian.
Since that defeat, Shevchenko has only looked even more impressive. In July 2016 the Muay Thai standout cruised to a one-sided decision win over former champion Holly Holm.
That set up what many people believed would be a title eliminator against Julianna Pena in Denver, Colorado. While Shevchenko was favoured to win the fight by many, few expected her to submit The Ultimate Fighter season 18 winner. That is exactly what happened as Shevchenko forced Pena to tap to an armbar towards the end of the second round.
Now Nunes and Shevchenko, who have positioned themselves ahead of the chasing pack at 135 pounds, look set to meet for the second time.
UFC 213 takes place July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to the Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko bout is a men’s bantamweight title fight between Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw. There has been no confirmation as yet regarding which fight will serve as the main event.
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.
Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.
First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)
EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that Eryk Anders (@erykanders) has gotten his wish. He'll headline UFC Fight Night: Belem against Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) in Brazil. Ask and you shall receive. #UFC pic.twitter.com/qX62A9qH6k
— The MMA Kings (Nolan King) (@mma_kings) December 14, 2017
Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.
Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.
Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.
In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.
UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira.
Mark Hunt Returns to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221
UFC 221 in Perth has officially added a another Australian to the main card. Joining Robert Whittaker is the knockout legend Mark Hunt.
The Daily Telegraph first reported that Hunt will be stepping into the octagon to face #9 Curtis Blaydes. Some weren’t sure if we would ever see Hunt fight again after he was pulled from the main event in UFC Fight Night 21 against Marcin Tybura. The UFC removed him due to “medical concerns” while Hunt was stating he was perfectly fine.
After getting evaluated and cleared to fight by Australian and American doctors, it looks like his time has come to return. Hunt’s last fight was back in June when he derailed the Derrick Lewis hype train with a 4th round TKO win.
Hunt had been adamant about calling out #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and trying to get that rematch booked, labelling Werdum a “chicken shit” and a “coward.”
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes who has an 8-1 record, is coming off a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage at UFC 217 in November. Since losing to now title challenger Francis Ngannou in April of 2016, Blaydes has rattled off three straight wins over Alexey Oleynik, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Cody East.
With all this momentum from the win streak, Blaydes looks to capitalize and win the biggest fight of his career against Hunt.
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