Julianna Pena put on a fantastic display of grappling prowess at UFC 257, when she locked up a fight-ending rear-naked choke in the third round to get back into the win column against Sara McMann. Originally ranked at number 7 in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division at the time of the fight, it’s likely that this win will push Pena into the edge of the top 5, where she can start working her way back to title contention after losing her footing against Germaine De Randamie in her last fight late in 2020.
The Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann was coming into the fight with Julianna Pena after going 1-2 over the last three years and at the age of 40, it’s highly likely that this was her last chance to make a run at the title. Considering that she didn’t even start competing professionally in MMA until she had already turned 30, McMann has had an incredible career and has fought the best women in the Bantamweight division over the last decade. With fights against Amanda Nunes, Miesha Tate, and Ronda Rousey there’s very few elite women at 145lbs that McMann hasn’t already entered the octagon against and it’ll be interesting to see where she chooses to go from here.
Of course, every fight at UFC 257 was overshadowed by the main event that saw Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier fighting it out in a rematch that was six years in the making. That was even before the event and once the dust had settled, the main event took even more of the spotlight when Dustin Poirier shocked the world in becoming the first man to finish McGregor with strikes. The fight was called off in the second round after he landed several hard shots as a result of a perfectly executed gameplan where Poirier fed him a steady diet of leg kicks and threatened the takedown early on.
The UFC 257 replay will soon be available to watch on UFC FightPass, click here to subscribe and watch.