The first champion vs champion fight has formally been booked. Amanda”The Lioness” Nunes is making the move up from the bantamweight division to take on Cristiane”Cyborg” Justino in the featherweight division at UFC 232 on December 29 at California. Oddsmakers have Cyborg launching as a -250 favorite using all The Lioness coming back in +195 with this superfight in the women’s divisions.
The -260 line for Cyborg might jump in you as a bargain, as in her past five fights at the Octagon she’s been a typical -1619 favorite. What I find fascinating about the current chances is that Cyborg entered the struggle against Holly Holm as a -275 favorite and I believe Nunes has a far greater opportunity to steal the featherweight belt out of Cyborg compared to Holm actually did. Both have been verbally jousting for months and the conversation ends when both battle later this season.
Nunes in Featherweight
Although Cyborg are the bigger woman from the Octagon when both meet, Nunes had success at featherweight in her past. She competed in the featherweight division to start her career in which she posted a record of 6-1. All six successes for The Lioness in the 145-pound branch came by knockout, including wins over Ediane Gomes and Julia Budd.
Nunes has had her problems cutting the weight at 135 lbs and has seemed to be the larger woman in all of her struggles at bantamweight. The Brazilian is currently riding a seven-fight winning series and has defended her belt four times, finishing her opponent three of those times, such as a fifth-round TKO over Raquel Pennington at UFC 224.
How will Cyborg vs NUNES perform?
This is certain to be a standup war between both Brazilians with 17 of Cyborg’s 20 victories coming by way of T/KO and 11 of Nunes’ 16 wins coming exactly the same way. Together with two fighters coming to battle with legit knockout power, it is tough to provide the advantage one way or the other. Cyborg is going to use her size and power to attempt and corner Nunes and look for the finish. The Curitiba native is methodical and competitive, landing 7.02 strikes per minute while protecting 70 percent of strikes against. Cyborg has not suffered a loss since her very first professional fight in 2005 when she was stopped by a kneebar. She’s won five consecutive UFC struggles including defending her belt double.
Nunes’ road to success over Cyborg can come to the mat. The Lioness averages 1.82 takedowns per 15 minutes and it’s in her very best interest to stay away from Cyborg’s power from the standup game. Two of Nunes’ four losses came by means of TKO/KO, most recently being halted by Cat Zingano at UFC 178. The Bahia native will seem to her leg kicks to slow Cyborg down and fasten the takedown where she can perform her striking floor and pound to become the first woman two-division winner.
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