Amanda Nunes will look to make history on Saturday as the first female fighter (and just the third overall) to defend titles in two divisions when she.
Nunes (19-4), widely considered the G.O.A.T. of women's MMA, will make the first defense of her featherweight belt when she faces Felicia Spencer (8-1) inside the UFC Apex facility. The bout will be just the second at 145 pounds for Nunes within the UFC after knocking out Cris "Cyborg" Justino in 2018 to win the title.
How will the 32-year-old Nunes, who enters as a massive betting favorite, get the job done? Here are three keys to victory to keep in mind.
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1. Dictate the terms of the fight
Nunes might be best known for the damage she inflicts with her overhand right, but its very often set up by a perfect mix of hard strikes from the outside through jabs and outside leg kicks. Against a full-fledged featherweight like Spencer who strikes well, particularly leading with her elbows, when she is able to close range, keeping control of the distance will be key for the champion. Even if that means slowing down the pace and not openly inviting Spencer to trade, Nunes must maintain control of the fight's terms at all times to limit Spencer's ability to shake things up.
2. Let your technique speak volumes
This doesn't mean Nunes isn't capable of finishing Spencer with hard strikes, like she has done to just about everyone before her from Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey to Holly Holm and Cyborg. But Spencer's most elite skill entering this fight is her ability to absorb damage without wilting, which she proved by going three hard rounds against Cyborg in a decision loss. For as well as Spencer matches up in terms of size and toughness, Nunes is levels above when it comes to her craft. It's an advantage that should add up over time provided Nunes relies on it and keeps her gas tank charged by avoiding wild scrambles or exchanges.
3. Give Spencer the respect she deserves
The betting odds, which have Nunes as a -650 favorite, simply don't present an accurate representation of Spencer's chances in this fight. For Nunes, keeping her focus at all costs will be essential, particularly because of the already unprecedented elements that surround the timing of the fight. Not only is Nunes coming off an ankle injury that forced her to postpone this bout by a month, she was outspoken about not wanting to rush back during the quarantine without getting a proper training camp worthy of a title defense. There's also the potential distraction of Nunes' fiancee, UFC women's strawweight Nina Ansaroff, expecting their first child. This has all the makings for a trap fight if Nunes, fresh off an uneven performance in defeating Germaine de Randamie in their December rematch, doesn't bring her A game.
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