Saturday, July 2, 2022

Santos Looks To Replicate Peña’s UFC 269 Upset Against Shevchenko

UFC women’s flyweight contender Taila Santos is looking to pull a Julianna Peña when she challenges for Valentina Shevchenko’s title this weekend.

Since a debut defeat to Mara Romero Borella, Santos has gone 4-0 inside the Octagon, adding the names of Molly McCann, Roxanne Modafferi, Gillian Robertson, and Joanne Wood to her promotional slate.

Now 19-1 in professional MMA and sat at #4 in the 125-pound division, the Dana White‘s Contender Series alum is set for her first crack at gold. At UFC 275, scheduled for Singapore on June 11, Santos will share the cage with dominant flyweight queen Shevchenko.

Unsurprisingly, not many are giving the Brazilian much of a chance at victory come fight night. After all, to have her hand raised, she’ll need to become the first woman to defeat Shevchenko at flyweight, end the Kyrgyzstani’s eight-fight win streak, and do what the likes of Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Jennifer Maia, Holly Holm, and Jéssica Andrade failed to do.

With that challenge in mind, Santos currently finds herself as a significant underdog, with having the 28-year-old at +400. But something about an underrated contender challenging a dominant female champion feels familiar, doesn’t it? Santos thinks so.

During a recent interview with Sherdog, the Jaraguá do Sul native was asked about the common sentiment that she has little chance of dethroning “Bullet” on June 11. For Santos, the odds and disbelief motivates her, as does the success of the reigning UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion last December.

“Those numbers just motivate me to shock the world. Respect cannot mean fear,” Santos said. “Peña fought Amanda (Nunes) stepping forward, not fearing, and that’s how she won. I’m going to do the same against Valentina. Take note, I’ll defy the odds and bring this belt to Brazil.”

At UFC 269, Julianna Peña shocked the world by ending the 12-fight, seven-year unbeaten run of Amanda Nunes. Despite being doubted by most, “The Venezuelan Vixen” submitted the “Lioness” in the second round to secure her place on the 135-pound throne.

Should Taila Santos have her way, fans will be talking about another memorable upset on the women’s roster come the aftermath of UFC 275.

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