First reported by Mike Coppinger, Amanda Nunes (21-4) has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of her scheduled bout against Juliana Pena (11-4) on August 7th. This fight was set to Co-Main the interim heavyweight title match between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis at UFC 265.
This cancelation is a tough blow for a card that has already gotten criticism for being on the weaker side. Just weeks ago the aforementioned heavyweight bout was added to this card to bolster PPV appeal.
The Build Up
Nunes is the most dominant champion in the UFC, holding two belts and defending them simultaneously. She has continuously justified the heavy favorite odds given to her every fight by dominating her opponents quickly and decisively. Although this domination has been a double-edged sword, with many tuning in to see such dominance, others are uninterested in watching the same scenario play out.
Her most recent win was an exceptional performance over Megan Anderson which ended in the first two minutes via triangle armbar. While consistently dominating, what can be said for Nunes is she fights the toughest and most willing opponent every time and this fight against Pena was about to be no different.
Her opponent, Julia Pena is an elite Bantamweight whose only two losses have been to two of the greatest women fighters of all time in Valentina Shevchenko and most recently Germaine De Randamie. Her most recent performance was a win over Sarah McMann which was a dominant three-round performance that ended in a rear-naked choke with under two minutes left in the third and final round.
While Pena surely has been impressive in the octagon and deserving of a title shot, many point to her trash talk as to the reason she was given this fight. Immediately after her last win, Pena went on a media tour calling for her shot at the belt. Claiming that she is the most formidable opponent for Nunes. Highlighting that her losses were only to elite talent and pointing to her win over Cat Zingano (who beat Nunes via TKO early in Nunes’s career) as reasons for her requested title shot.
For the reasons of skill and trash talk combined, this was set to be an exciting match for both fighters and fans alike. It will be interesting how fast this fight gets rescheduled as it is COVID-related and not injury-related. In the same breathe, what will be done with a UFC 265 card that now seems underwhelming with only one title fight present which is for an interim belt. It will be tough to schedule something significant with the card being less than two weeks away, but the UFC has done it before.
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images