FIGHTER PROFILE: Julianna Peña

Julianna Pena secures nasty submission of Sara McMann in final seconds
Peña lands a shot. Photo Courtesy of Zuffa LLC

Julianna Peña will make her return to the UFC Octagon on Saturday December 11th. She will be facing the greatest female MMA fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes.The five round championship bout  which was originally scheduled for August 7th at UFC 265 had to be rescheduled after Nunes was unfortunately diagnosed with Covid-19. Nunes has been on an amazing 12 fight win streak, and is the only Woman to ever hold two belts as the reigning UFC Bantamweight and Featherweight champion. Peña hopes to fight her way into taking one of Nunes’ belts away.

Peña was born August 19, 1989 in Spokane, Washington and is the youngest of four siblings. She didn’t have any Martial arts experience growing up, but took up cardio kickboxing to stay in shape. Peña decided to switch to training MMA after some time she decided to take her first amateur bout. She made her MMA debut on February 6th 2009 for the ExciteFight promotion against Kate Dell, she’d win by Decision (Unanimous.) She’d fight one more time in her amateur career, a win against Cynthia Hernandez by Submission.

Peña with success in her amateur bouts decided to go pro. She made her debut against Raylene Harvey and won via Submission (rear-naked choke.) She’d fight five more times for various promotions compiling a 4-2 record. She’d catch the attention of the UFC and was added to the Bantamweight Tournament on the Ultimate Fighters 18th season coached by Women’s MMA trailblazers Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. On the show she fought Gina Mazany winning by decision, Shayna Baszler by Submission (rear-naked choke,) and Sarah Moras who she finished by Submission (guillotine choke.) Peña would go on to face Jessica Rakoczy in the show’s finale, she’d win by TKO (punches) and won The Ultimate Fighter 18 Bantamweight Tournament.

Peña was supposed to fight against Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 in March of 2014, but unfortunately tore her ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus while grappling in preparing for the fight. Unfortunately her injury kept Peña from being able to compete for the rest of 2014. This would be a major setback for Peña but she’d return to the Octagon against Milana Dudieva on April 4, 2015. She’d bring home the W and would go on to win against Jessica Eye at UFC 192 in October of that year. Peña would then fight Cat Zingano by unanimous decision. She’d then go on to face MMA great Valentina Shevchenko unfortunately Peña didn’t bring home the W. She’d win two of her next three securing victories over former Flyweight Champion Nicco Montaño and Sara McMann. 

Peña returns to action at UFC 269 against Amanda Nunes for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Peña’s wrestling will hopefully come into play when she faces Nunes if she can secure the takedown as Nunes is lethal on the feet. It should be a great fight! 

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