A bantamweight showdown between two veteran grapplers is set for January 16 when Julianna Pena clashes with Sara McMann.
Julianna Pena announced that she will be facing Sara McMann at UFC on ESPN+ 45 on January 16, and multiple outlets have confirmed the news. Both fighters are ranked at bantamweight, with Pena at #6 and Sara McMann at #9.
Sara McMann knows what it’s like to get within takedown range of a UFC championship, as she once contended for the bantamweight title when she faced the then seemingly unbeatable Ronda Rousey. McMann would join Rousey’s long victims list and then get right to work on climbing back up the ladder. Since her loss to Rousey in 2014, McMann has experienced a series of ups and downs, having nearly .500 record of 5-4. McMann’s promise as an Olympic wrestler with improving striking has always been present, though, and now coming off an impressive decision victory over Lina Lansberg in January, the 40-year-old will look to begin 2021 the same way.
Julianna Pena has been very close to scoring a title shot on more than one occasion during her seven-year-run with the UFC. After becoming the first female to win The Ultimate Fighter, Pena rallied together three straight victories before losing to Valentina Shevchenko. Pena’s only losses in the UFC have come to former champions: Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie. After Pena was submitted by de Randamie in October, she vowed to return to competition sooner rather than later to rebound, and this bout agreement shows that this smooth talker was not giving lip service.
With the addition of this bantamweight bout, the current UFC on ESPN+ 45 lineup consists of the following bouts:
Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann
Brian Kelleher vs. Ricky Simon
Jacob Killburn vs. Austin Lingo
Tim Elliott vs. Jordan Espinosa
Carlos Felipe vs. Justin Tafa
Punahele Soriano vs. Dusko Todorovic
Who do you predict will win this bout between grapplers Julianna Pena and Sara McMann?