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Amanda Nunes defeated Valentina Shevchenko 16 months ago to earn a shot at the UFC women’s bantamweight title. They’ll meet again Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 213, with Nunes now the champion and Shevchenko a well-respected challenger out for revenge. Nunes clubbed Miesha Tate to win the belt, then dominated Ronda Rousey to keep it, but Shevchenko took the Lioness to three full rounds before losing in a unanimous decision.
That leads some to believe Bullet might have the upper hand in a five-round bout, should Saturday’s meeting go that far. Nunes-Shevchenko 2 is the co-main event at T-Mobile Arena, with Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker’s interim-middleweight-title fight also topping the card. The winner likely will face Michael Bisping for the unified belt, but he’s still focused on fighting Georges St-Pierre, seemingly unimpressed with the prospect of facing Romero or Whittaker. Maybe Saturday’s fight will change the champ’s mind.
The Australian will face one of the UFC’s most controversial figures in Yoel Romero at UFC 213 this weekend, but he refuses get riled up by the Cuban’s shady past.
In fact, it’s as if Whittaker almost welcomes the controversy, such is his desire to beat the feared fighter at his peak.
“He’s one of the best athletes, one of the top level athletes in the world and what he does in his off-season, what he’s been popped for, it won’t affect me fighting him,” Whittaker told foxsports.com.au.
Romero’s “dirty” reputation stems from a failed drug test in 2015 — he tested positive to a banned substance that stimulates human growth hormone release but USADA accepted his claim he had not knowingly taken it — while questionable tactics in the Octagon also haven’t enamoured him to rivals.
Middleweight champion Michael Bisping considers him “the biggest cheating motherf***er in the whole sport”. Tim Kennedy, a 2014 victim of Romero’s (The Cuban controversially sat on a stool to recover between rounds) said of him: “He’s cheated in every single fight he’s ever been in the UFC. Every fight”.