The fight for the UFC bantamweight championship will go on – but with a new challenger.
On Tuesday, UFC President Dana White announced that Amanda Nunes originally scheduled opponent Julianna Peña has been forced out of their upcoming trilogy bout due to injury. Stepping in to replace her is top contender Irene Aldana.
Peña broke her ribs and is unable to compete at the highly anticipated third meeting between Nunes and Peña at UFC 289 on June 10th in Vancouver, Canada. The first two meetings between the two saw an unexpected win by Peña via submission at UFC 269 when she became champion, only for Nunes to reclaim her title with a dominant five round performance at UFC 277. Prior to that loss, Nunes had successfully defended her bantamweight title five consecutive times – making this matchup all the more exciting as she looks to defend it once again against a different opponent come June 10th.
Aldana was previously scheduled for a rematch against Raquel Pennington on May 20th which would likely have decided who would become No 1 contender; however instead she moves right into a championship opportunity against one of MMA’s most successful athletes today.
The Mexican standout has won two straight fights and four of her past five though she has not actually fought at 135 pounds in either of those contests (her previous wins came from 140-pound catchweight fights). Her last victory was earned spectacularly via upkick to the body knockout against Macy Chiasson back in September 2020 .
As we approach both matchups closer and closer (UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana & Pennington vs TBD), there is sure be much speculation surrounding how each fight will turn out given these sudden changes made less than one month before they are set take place!