This is a pretty big clash of styles between the two top ten fighters in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division.
Germaine de Randamie has been one of my favorite female fighters to watch because of her level of striking. She is a notch above everybody.
Holly Holm fell short.
Even the double champ Amanda Nunes didn’t want any part of Germaine on the feet. Amanda was able to take her down with ease, though, 9 of 11 times which was the story of the fight.
De Randamie’s opponent this Saturday is another favorite fighter of mine that we have all missed over the past several years.
Julianna Pena might actually be favored in her fight with Germaine de Randamie this weekend if she was simply more active lately.
She just turned 31, though, in August, and minus some rust, this could be the best Venezuelan Vixen we have ever seen.
The winner of one of the most-watched seasons ever, Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter coached by Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey, Julianna Pena as an MMA fighter had all the makings of a superstar.
She is a dominant wrestler which is the best base to have in modern mixed martial arts. Her submissions are above average and her ground and pound vicious. Dominant wrestling and a finisher!
She has some fire to her personality too. And she would also be considered beautiful by most I would assume. That never hurts in any form of entertainment as we know.
After winning the show, the sky was the limit.
Julianna Pena has faced obstacle after obstacle since, though. Some of those were blessings and some were not. We will touch on some of those roadblocks in a few.
Now, let’s look at some of the measurables for this classic striker vs grappler matchup.
|Germaine de Randamie||Julianna Pena|
|Fight Record: 10-3||Fight Record: 9-4|
|Age: 36||Age: 31|
|Height: 5’9”||Height: 5’6”|
|Reach: 72”||Reach: 69”|
|From: Utrecht, Netherlands||From: Spokane, Washington|
|Fight Camp: American Kickboxing Academy||Fight Camp: SikJitsu|
Their records are pretty similar and both have been locked inside the Octagon with UFC World Champions.
Germaine defeated Julie Kitchens, one of the best in the world at the time, in a Muay Thai bout in June of 2008.
After dominating the global Muay Thai and kickboxing scene for years, the Dutch fighter was scheduled to fight in her first-ever mixed martial arts bout.
She lost her first fight to longtime Invicta FC competitor Brazilian Vanessa Porto and her fourth contest to initial Bellator Women’s Featherweight (145) Champ, Julia Budd.
In her first time ever fighting inside the Octagon, Germanaine won a split decision over women’s MMA pioneer and legend, Julie Kedzie.
Next was The Lioness Amanda Nunes… Ooweee.
First-round TKO loss for G.
She fought a couple of scrubs and then defeated Holly Holm, Raquey Pennington, and the up and coming Aspen Ladd in three consecutive contests and won them all convincingly.
Most recently, she got her rematch with Amanda but was wrestled to death for 25 minutes. She obviously fared much better this time around but was taken down 9 of 11 times. That’s rough.
Germaine will hold a reach advantage but it might be 2 inches, not 3. I am seeing different measurements on different websites but just know that if this fight plays out on the feet, de Randamie should win 90% of the time minimum.
It’s not that Julianna’s striking is atrocious. She keeps her hands high and presses forward. There are just levels to this stuff and a world champ in Muay Thai is some kinda level, man.
I’m telling you guys.
I have sparred with both Muay Thai world champions and grappling specialists in the UFC. It isn’t close. AT ALL.
This isn’t sparring, though, and it is MMA. One takedown can change the entire complexion of a fight. Imagine being the Muay Thai world champ and your opponent can take those 20 years of training away from you in a second.
It does start to limit your output and power on the feet if you begin to let your mind think that the takedown might be coming.
As much as coaches tell their fighters not to overthink the imminent takedown, it’s really hard to not to. Just keep your level low, your hips back, and your feet moving.
Germaine de Randamie has some pretty good takedown defense numbers for her career but letting Nunes get her to the mat in 9 of 11 tries worries me.
Amanda is big, yes. She is bigger than Julianna Pena but it’s not by that much.
You can’t really say Nunes is a natural 145er. She definitely has some pudge when she fights up at Featherweight but the champ carries it well and does her thing.
I’m just making the point that Julianna is just as technical if not more so in her approach to getting her opponents to the mat. She presents a different kind of takedown threat than say Aspen Ladd who is mostly a bodylock takedown girl.
Julianna will shoot in on your legs. That is Muay Thai kryptonite right there because we like to stand tall and somewhat square to defend the round kick.
Trying to get a takedown from the clinch against a Muay Thai world champ is likely futile…unless you’re The Lioness and the double champ I guess.
I mentioned that we would go over Julianna’s wild history outside of the Octagon since she became a UFC fighter.
This is her story. You can decide if you think she is lying.
She says she was walking with her friends and they had already been arguing when some guys drove by and whistled “mama cita, whoo.” Then they hit a tree which fell and happened to break Julianna’s nose.
Maybe, I don’t know.
This was early in her career, pre UFC days. After winning TUF, she was scheduled to fight Jessica Andrade. She tore her ACL, MCL, PCL, and Meniscus in one fell swoop…
During her comeback, she got into a bar fight, kinda
She is with a training partner whose face is wrecked from a street fight and they try to get into a club to get cleaned up but are refused entry because his face is covered in blood.
Understandable. Not to Julianna.
She kicks not one but two bouncers square in the coconuts and calls it a day. Pena also lied to the police about the matter saying she never kicked anyone…
Julianna still managed to go 3-0 in her return with wins over Cat Zingano and Jessica Eye before fighting Valentina Shevchenko. Pena took her down and controlled her for some of the fight before getting caught in an armbar
In January 2018, Julianna Pena became a mother of a beautiful baby girl. 18 months later, she was able to knock some rust off this past July when she fought another Ultimate Fighter winner, Nicco Montano
Montano is very underrated with a strong strong clinch game and it wasn’t the prettiest fight but Pena won by unanimous decision
The fight day weight is actually listed for Pena’s fight with Montano and I see some very interesting numbers. We don’t always see these numbers but it is kinda cool when you do.
It can help your bet. Or not.
Julianna Pena and Nicco Montano both weighed in at 135 pounds but the next day Nicco was 153 and Julianna only 142.
If you would have seen Pena coming off of giving birth, years away, and down 10 pounds to a girl solid in the clinch… I would prob say bet on Montano who closed as a (+150) underdog as well.
I really thought Julianna cut more weight than that. Pena could easily compete at 125 pounds.
De Randamie is big too. Julianna can be the better wrestler but when there is a 10+ pound difference in her opponent’s favor, it makes it pretty tough to get the fight to the mat. Germaine has fought at Featherweight and been very lean.
Most of the colleagues are telling me that they believe Germaine should be at least a (-200) favorite here. I only heard one person say that they are picking Pena.
Let’s take a look at the betting odds brought to us by BetOnline for this one and make a prediction on either a winner or a round total.
This one opened up at (-185) for Germaine de Randamie and (+160) for Juliana Pena. When I first saw the betting line, though, the fight was close to being even and I kinda agree.
For sure, I can understand why there are question marks surrounding the mindset and abilities of Julianna Pena.
She just turned 31, though, and we could be seeing a rebirth in the career of Pena. We can speculate about quite a bit for each fighter.
De Randamie successfully defended relentless takedown attempts from who and won?
Amanda Nunes is the only fighter to take her down since her debut with the organization against Kedzie back in 2013.
Who really tried, though, that is a true takedown artist like Pena?
Raquel Pennington was 0-8 but she doesn’t shoot in on the legs very well, though. She bullies girls from the clinch and that played directly into the hands of the Muay Thai stylist.
Raquel’s takedown accuracy is around 25% and those came against much weaker opponents.
Just found something.
It looks like the fight day weights are listed for Germaine when she fought Aspen. The fight was at 135 pounds and she only weighed 148 the next day. Side note-Aspen Ladd weighed 159 pounds on fight day!
Germaine’s 148 is only 5 more pounds than Juliana’s last fight and we will probably see those numbers a little closer this time around.
This fight will be more about strength than quickness, in my opinion. The winner of the wrestling exchanges will most likely be the winner of the fight.
Path To Victory
Germaine de Randamie
Knock that chick out!
She did it to Aspen Ladd another grappling heavy fighter in just 16 seconds.
Germaine can also jab and leg kick her way to a decision victory. She, of course, will have to defend the inevitable takedown attempts from Julianna. If she can do that, the fight is her’s to lose.
Take that chick down and submit her!
Make no mistake, that can happen just as easily as G cracking J on the chin for a quick night.
This is just a three-round fight and Pena may only need two takedowns to secure the victory.
Julianna has taken down every opponent she’s ever faced inside the Octagon. She averages 2.6 per 15 minutes and that number could be much higher but her top control and submission prowess are both outstanding.
- She took down Cat Zingano, a very big fighter and state champ wrestler, multiple times.
- She took down Shevchenko, who has a 77% takedown defense percentage, multiple times as well.
Pena can definitely win this fight but she is going to have to get her wrestling going.
I’m going with Pena here. I see that Germaine is training her MMA and most importantly her wrestling at AKA, which is home to Cormier, Khabib, and Cain-3 of the best MMA wrestlers of all-time.
If G was the (+121) dog, I might go with her.
Julianna is the underdog, though, here and she has the better wrestling.
If the weight difference was 10+ pounds, I was going to lean towards the Dutchwoman but at just 5 or likely less, give me Pena all day.
She didn’t look amazing against Montano but Nicco has 5 pounds on G and a similar takedown defense on paper of 69% despite fighting just two women inside the Octagon as a sample size-the kicker being that both of them, Roxannae Modafferi and Pena are two of the most relentless offensive wrestlers in the game.
This was also her first fight in a long time and she was coming off of giving birth.
This is the first time we are seeing Julianna Pena fight with a layoff of less than 6 months in years.
She should look better than ever.
This fight is all about the wrestling.
Julianna has much much better wrestling on paper than her opponent.
Remember that Germaine was taken down 9 times in only 11 tries by Nunes.
Amanda, when she fought Cyborg at 145 pounds, weighed just 153 on fight day.
There is clearly 10 pounds of fat in her belly right now so she isn’t that much bigger than Germaine and around the same weight as Montano was when she fought Pena.
MMA math is crap as you know but I think clinch math with weights involved and to a slightly lesser extent, overall wrestling math, might have more truths to them.
It doesn’t look like the size difference is going to be very much at all and we have the better wrestler and BJJ artist at plus money.
I’ll take it.
Not gonna be shocked either way this fight goes, though.