Fighting on the same card as Conor McGregor has a host of benefits as a Conor McGregor card draws the attention of the whole world. It is a perfect opportunity for up-and-coming fighters on the same card to put in a performance of a lifetime and let themselves be known to a broader audience. Julianna Pena and Sara McMann will be aiming to do the same at UFC 257.
Julianna Pena vs Sara McMann is the second fight on the preliminary card at UFC 257. Pena is ranked 7th in the women’s bantamweight division, whereas McMann sits at 9th. A win for either fighter is sure to put them in the top five of the division and within reach of a title shot.
Julianna Pena has been in the UFC since 2013. She secured a debut win against Jessica Rakoczy on The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale. Subsequently, she went on a four-fight unbeaten streak before succumbing to a loss against Valentina Shevchenko in January 2017. Pena is currently 1-2 in her last three fights. Most recently, she suffered a loss at the hands of Germaine de Randamie in October 2020.
Sara McMann has been in the UFC since 2013. In her time with the promotion, she has fought the best at 135-pounds, including the likes of Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. She is 1-2 in her last three fights. Most recently, she secured a win against Lina Lansberg in January 2020.
‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ has secured 33% of her wins via submissions. She averages 2.79 takedowns per 15 minutes and an impressive 1.24 submission attempts in the same timeframe. Though her game is predominantly ground-based she has a 22% takedown defense. Hence, it will be difficult against McMann, who is a highly accomplished wrestler and an Olympic Silver Medallist.
McMann averages 3.15 takedowns per 15 minutes with 0.63 submission attempts in the same time frame. She also has an impressive takedown defense rate of 66% which will be useful against Pena.
This fight will most likely be decided on the ground. However, if it stays on the feet, ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ will be more comfortable as she has a better striking game. But, if it goes to the ground, McMann’s experience will prove too much for Pena.
Prediction: Sara McMann via decision.
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