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Unknown MMA’s Fight to Watch with Brandon Dimas: UFC Sacramento

UFC Sacramento could probably be called UFC Team Alpha Male due to the amount of fighters fighting out of the famous California Gym. With more than a handful of “alpha-male” fighters on the card, it includes the return of a living legend, “The California Kid”, Urijah Faber. It’s his return that has many eyes anticipating this Saturday’s card. With that being said though, Unknown MMA’s Fight To Watch is a match that features the FIRST ever Women’s TUF champion (TUF 18) Julianna Pena versus the TUF 26 champ and Inaugural women’s flyweight champion, Nicco   Montaño. Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Pena (8-3) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2) deserves your attention. On Saturday, this bantamweight match may not make the earth shake (its Cali, so I wouldn’t count it out) but it is a perfect matchup.

A post shared by N I C C O R A E (@nrmontano) on Jul 1, 2019 at 9:55pm PDT

More than 2 years have passed since the last time Julianna Pena made the walk to the octagon. After winning 4 straight going into her fight with Valentina Shevchenko on January 28, 2017, Julianna was on the verge of a possible title shot but she came up short and lost in the 2nd round by armbar. Following her loss, Julianna got pregnant and took some time away from the octagon. 

A post shared by Julianna Nicole Peña (@venezuelanvixen) on Jul 11, 2019 at 9:36am PDT

The time away has come to an end due to Sarah McMann (another Team Alpha-Male product) having to pull out of the card; Julianna Pena got the call and she’s ready to get back on track and kick start her way back into title contention.

The former Flyweight champ, Nicco Montaño has moved up in weight and is hoping to reacquaint herself with fight fans. After her victory against Roxanne Modafferi, in December of 2017, she was crowned the winner of TUF 26 and the inaugural flyweight champ. Following that fight though Nicco basically fell off many fight fans’ radar. Whether she refused to defend her title or couldn’t due to injury –   Montaño was eventually stripped and just like her upcoming opponent but for different reasons – she’s been extremely inactive. Adding to her list of reasons why she wasn’t in the octagon was a failed out-of-competition drug test that handed her a 6-month suspension.

A post shared by N I C C O R A E (@nrmontano) on Jul 3, 2019 at 11:50am PDT

With personal reasons out of the way, for both ladies– the only thing left to do is remind fight fans of who they are. Neither woman is ranked but whoever gets their hand raised may find themselves inside the top 15 when the rankings get updated. A victory for “The Venezuelan Vixen” and more importantly, a dominant victory, will remind fans of the Julianna Pena who was once a winner of 4 straight and on the verge of a title shot. As for Nicco Montaño, a victory– in a new division– against an opponent with the caliber of Julianna Pena would be massive. Not just for her, personally but as well for her relationship with the UFC and her own fight fans.

A post shared by N I C C O R A E (@nrmontano) on May 12, 2019 at 12:40pm PDT

This fight might not get off to a fast start, considering that both ladies haven’t fought in more than 2 years but something tells me that the winner will have done more than just reacquaint (Pena) or introduce (Montaño) herself in the bantamweight division. The loser, however, will take another step back. This Saturday, in California, these two ladies will look to shake things up. 

A post shared by Julianna Nicole Peña (@venezuelanvixen) on Jul 2, 2019 at 12:30pm PDT

Be sure to tune in when the UFC invades Sacramento this Saturday live on ESPN+. ■

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