Three title fights are set to take place this Saturday night in Las Vegas as the UFC ends 2019 with one of their biggest pay-per-view events of the year.
The main event will see two bitter rivals battle as Kamaru Usman defends his welterweight crown from Colby Covington. Before then, Max Holloway looks to keep his incredible featherweight winning streak alive as he defends his title from Alexander Volkanovski. The first title fight of the evening is a women’s bantamweight matchup that will see Germaine De Randamie challenge Amanda Nunes for the title.
Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie
Fights fans love to talk about who they consider as the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artist. In most cases, there is no overwhelmingly clear answer to the question. However, when we’re talking about the best female mixed martial artist in the history of the sport, the answer is none other than Amanda Nunes.
Nunes emerged from the shadows in some ways as she gained entry into a title fight against Miesha Tate at UFC 200 in 2016. Nunes dominated Tate before then smashing Ronda Rousey in her first title defense. Since then, Nunes has cleared through any and all contenders not only in her home at bantamweight but in the women’s featherweight division as well.
Many could consider Nunes’ 51-second knockout of Cris Cyborg as the pinnacle of her career to date, but a first-round head kick knockout of Holly Holm not long after helped her to climb even greater heights. Nunes is undefeated in her last nine fights and doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Across from her this weekend, however, is a renowned female striker who has proven to be a significant challenge for many of the best bantamweight fighters in the UFC. Germaine de Randamie’s story includes time as a former champion of the featherweight division, but she would never defend that title and later vacated it to Cyborg. Since then, “The Iron Lady” has moved back to her home at bantamweight where she has now managed back-to-back wins against Raquel Pennington and Aspen Ladd.
Although Nunes’ striking isn’t anywhere close to perfect, the main reason for her success as a stand-up fighter is her remarkable punching power. Nunes carries extraordinary power in her hands and has obliterated any fighter that chooses to trade punches with her at close-to-medium range.
The best examples of how not to fight Amanda Nunes were in the Rousey and Cyborg fights as each fighter remained at punching range and attempted to answer back with shots of their own. This simply isn’t an option against Nunes, as her power is enough to turn the tides of any close-range fight into her favor.
Fortunately for de Randamie, this style of fighting isn’t her preference. Unlike Cyborg and Rousey, expect de Randamie to stick to the outside and use her excellent footwork to maintain a safe striking range and help to set up opportunities of her own. Expect “The Iron Lady” to work off her left hook as she circles away from dangerous positions against the cage.
If Nunes pushes forward too carelessly, she’ll likely be whacked by one of de Randamie’s many combinations. De Randamie is equally as proficient coming forward as she is moving backward and this could be a deciding factor against Nunes in this fight.
Both Nunes and de Randamie can find advantages in the clinch against less-skilled fighters, but it’s likely that neither fighter will gain an upper hand in this title fight.
One aspect of the fight that demands consideration is the apparent grappling advantage that Nunes has coming into Saturday. Although she’s rarely needed to rely on it, Nunes has decent trip takedowns and a strong top game that could help her secure rounds against the challenger. On that note, we rarely see de Randamie needing to deal with an opponent who has established strong top control against her. This remains one of the greatest mysteries heading into this fight.
Prediction: Germaine de Randamie to win by unanimous decision
Bet: Germaine de Randamie to win +280 at 5Dimes
Bet explainer: While it’s easy to believe in Nunes’ power and well-rounded skillset to carry her across the line against de Randamie in this one, there’s every chance that de Randamie puts on a masterful striking clinic and keeps Nunes at bay for the majority of the five rounds. For that reason, we’ll be backing de Randamie to pull off a major upset at UFC 245, rounding out our selection of three underdog victories in the title fights happening in Las Vegas this Saturday.
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