What is Next for Amanda Nunes after UFC 224 Victory?
Following UFC 224, the UFC is set for a busy summer. Not only do they have superfights like Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, they also announced a Fight Night card in Russia, to take place in September. While that is all well and dandy, there are early question marks surrounding the women of MMA. One in particular had a dominant victory at UFC 224, that being Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes.
What will the UFC do next with their champion? After defeating Raquel Pennington for her third successful title defense, there are various possibilities the company can go with. Some involve contenders while others involve for-profit fights.
Regarding the latter, the most obvious decision for the UFC to make would be a match against Cris Cyborg. There have been rumors of adding both fighters to the UFC 226 supercard, or at least sometime during the summer. While that fight sounds enticing, negotiations may be the hardest part.
As far as title challengers go, the women’s bantamweight division does have some fresh talent. Germaine de Randamie is available, just recently coming from the featherweight division. We all know how that went, don’t we? With the recent drama surrounding GDR, it seems highly unlikely.
If the UFC were to stay in the division, the only true contender would be Ketlen Vieira. The 26-year old Brazilian is the number two-ranked fighter in the division, according the UFC’s official ranking system. She moved up two spots, thanks to Pennington dropping after her loss to Nunes.
Vieira last fought in March at UFC 222, beating Cat Zingano via split decision. While the challenge doesn’t sound sexy to most at first, it is something we have never seen before. She has been on a tear, winning all ten of her professional fights, four while with the UFC.
The two are just about even in avoiding strikes, with Vieira at 56% to Nunes’ 57%. A submission specialist, something Vieira can use towards her advantage is her takedown defense. She has a 92% avoidance rate while Nunes may be exposed with her 79% rating. Nunes would have to work overtime in order to avoid the takedown and unpredictability of Vieira.
When you look at the rest of the pack, Vieira seems like a clear choice to challenge Nunes.
The boxer v. the technician could be an enticing affair for the UFC during the summer or could very well be saved for a special event later in the year. Imagine Nunes fighting in New York City?
Amanda Nunes is a talent that can be marketed to the moon, if the UFC chooses to do so. The same could be said for Vieira. Whoever ends up being chosen to do battle will have the opportunity to step on Nunes’ spotlight, one that she will be damned sure to protect.