The ‘superfight’ era is alive and well, as evidenced by the announcement of a clash between titleholders, with UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes moving up to 145lbs to challenge reigning UFC featherweight champion and consensus number female fighter in the world, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino for the strap at UFC 232 on December 29, as part of the promotion’s year-end card.
Cyborg made the bout official on Instagram and just like that, the first women’s superfight in UFC history was made.
The fight has been on the radar of the MMA world for some time, with both women expressing interest in the matchup in late 2017 and earlier this year. Cyborg (20-1), the inaugural UFC featherweight champion, most recently stepped inside the Octagon in February at UFC 222, stopping Yana Kunitskaya in the first round, even calling out her fellow-champion during her post-fight interview. The 33-year-old will look to make the third defense of her crown against Nunes and pick up her 21st consecutive victory. The lone loss in her career came in her professional debut all the way back in 2005.
Nunes (16-4), the promotion’s bantamweight champion is riding a seven-fight win streak, including her championship performance against then-champion Miesha Tate to claim the belt at UFC 200. She has since defended her crown against Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and most recently against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224.
Nunes is no stranger to making history. She was the first Brazilian woman to win a UFC title, (Cyborg was the second.) She is also the first openly gay fighter to win a UFC championship. A victory over Cyborg would give Nunes another first, the distinction of being the first woman to hold belts in multiple weight classes in the promotion.
While Cyborg opened as a -300 favourite, with Nunes sitting at +230, it is worth noting that these are the closest odds any opponent has had against the featherweight queen since her Strikeforce title fight with Gina Carano in 2009, where both women at -115.
UFC 232 goes down December 29 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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