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Nunes vs Spencer: The Future of Featherweight

Amanda Nunes is to many the greatest female fighter of all time for her octagon performances. To many others, Ronda Rousey is without a doubt the greatest given her cultural influence, popularity and record setting and record breaking victories in the octagon. Ronda was a world class grappler but never used it to run out the clock, she gave the fans what they wanted.  

Amanda Nunes is also exciting. She has knocked out every bantamweight that ever mattered in the UFC thus far. For a while she seemed to be one of the champions most willing to slug it out with all contenders. In her last fight however, she had an underwhelming performance. Germaine De Randamie was giving Amanda Nunes a lot of trouble on the feet. It seemed she was finding Amanda Nunes’ chin at will.

A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Amanda Nunes🦁 (@amanda_leoa) on Apr 4, 2020 at 7:50am PDT

GDR was known to have very elite striking, but Nunes had an invincible aura around her after knocking out Cyborg a few years ago. In response to GDR picking her apart, Nunes took the fight to the ground and laid on top of her. Every time Nunes went back to striking, she would get tagged again and again.

There is nothing wrong with grappling to preserve yourself from taking damage, but in that fight, we got to see Nunes’ true spirit. Lots of media members talk about Nunes’ ground game and her high-level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but she did not use those skills much in that bout. While she may have the skills on paper, it is now clear that Amanda Nunes has no ground game for MMA.

She took GDR down because she knew she could and once she got her down there, she ran out the clock for each round. Nunes barely did damage to GDR let alone displaying any significant BJJ techniques. GDR could not stop takedowns or get up from them. If Nunes had anything for her on the ground, she should have showed it.

Ronda would never have done that to the fans. If she failed to land the armbar she would have hit GDR as much as it took to create an opening. That’s what GOATs do. That’s what Felicia Spencer does.

A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Amanda Nunes🦁 (@amanda_leoa) on May 22, 2020 at 4:11pm PDT

Spencer’s striking needs some work, but she looks to finish at all times. As a fan and promoter, you can always expect the best fighting styles from talent coming out of Invicta FC. Nunes will not have the opportunity to stall for time and just lay on top of her for twenty-five minutes. Felicia Spencer is going to go in there, be aggressive and look to finish both on top and on bottom. She must however be careful closing the distance. Once she does, she has a great chance of winning.

Nunes commonly slows down in the championship rounds. Felicia Spencer will make Nunes grapple the entire fight. This is the most effective way to tire out an explosive striker. Cyborg did survive Spencer’s pressure, but that fight was only three rounds. If the fight reaches the later rounds, we can really see what Nunes and Spencer are made of both tactically and physically at this point in their careers.

A post shared by Felicia "The FeeNom" Spencer (@feenom479) on Mar 1, 2020 at 6:25am PST

As much difficulty as Spencer had with Cyborg, Spencer still showed that she had great conditioning and positional awareness. We all know that Nunes knocked Cyborg out cold but that doesn’t mean that Spencer cannot beat her. MMA math is not scientific. MMA math is for martial arts neophytes. This is UnknownMMA, we don’t do that here.

Cyborg’s Muay Thai is tighter and more versatile than Nunes’. Nunes is more of a boxer, who will throw kicks where she sees fit. However, I don’t know how strong Nunes will be in the clinch against Spencer. In order to shut Spencer down Nunes will need to have a strong clinch game and make Spencer pay for initiating grappling exchanges. Nunes’ knees and elbows are not on par with Cyborg so it will be harder for Nunes to punish Spencer from different angles. She was able to squeak by Shevchenko years ago off of size and strength alone. Nunes will not be able to do that to Spencer. Regardless, this should be a really exciting match on Saturday. ■

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