09 July, 2017
Fighter withdrawals in the weeks and days before fights have been commonplace in the UFC in recent years, but this latest blow has left a replacement opponent for Shevchenko near impossible to find. Shevchenko, meanwhile, bounced back from the loss to Nunes with wins over former champion Holly Holm and TUF victor Julianna Pena to earn her shot at gold. But there was far less to be learned in knockouts of then-champion Tate and then-legend Ronda Rousey than there was to see in her decision win over Shevchenko.
"If the last fight had one minute more, it would maybe be a different result", Shevchenko said.
Of course, that didn't really matter to her.
Pettis (19-6) is a former lightweight champion and is looking to get his first win in the lightweight division since December 2014.
The middleweight division is now one of the most exciting in the UFC at the moment; there are plenty of top fighters, but with Michael Bisping still awaiting confirmation of whether his big match with UFC legend George St. Pierre is going ahead - the rest of the middleweights have been in limbo. It's mixed martial arts. Nunes, logically, did not. She slows down significantly in the second round and is running on empty in the third round.
By most accounts, Rousey was not.
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That means securing her legacy in the sport.
Amanda Nunes: "I beat her already". We can also safely conclude that her presence is nowhere near as noticeable as Rousey's or Tate's. Both Jedrzejczyk (14-0) and Shevchenko (14-2) have competed at 125 pounds before coming to UFC and each fighter has shared interest in competing there once UFC adds the new flyweight division that White confirmed in May is coming. Shevchenko will cause Nunes problems but such is the confidence of the Brazilian at the moment, it seems Nunes is ready to cement a legacy in the Bantamweight division. "I'm the champion. I'm supposed to have attention".
"If you want to promote me, promote me", she said.
The two first tangled in March 2016 at UFC 196, Nunes taking the victory in a unanimous points decision in three rounds, but the 29-year-old believes the extra two rounds that come with a title fight will not be a factor. Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler will fight against Donald Cerrone since Tyron Woodley knocked him out at UFC 201. But she isn't anxious about the rematch with Shevchenko.
Nunes versus Shevchenko, a rematch of their back-and-forth affair at UFC 196 in March of previous year, possesses none of the glamour that once went hand in hand with the women's bantamweight class when Rousey, Holm and Tate were champions.