Nunes meets Shevchenko, Romero takes on Whittaker at UFC 213

UFC women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes is out of her scheduled fight against Valentina Shevchenko. She does a very good job at advancing positions to allow herself an opportunity to wail down on her opponent from top control to have an opportunity at a stoppage win due to strikes.

Nunes is the only person not named Ronda Rousey to successfully defend the bantamweight belt.

Nunes v Shevchenko 2 TV broadcast will air on BT Sport 2, as well as being available on the BT Sport app.

They have beaten similar opponents - both hold recent wins over Jacare Souza, Whittaker by KO, the first man to do so against the Brazilian since 2008. Tate was the star at UFC 200 (and Nunes the challenger), and then it was Rousey's return that dominated the headlines leading up to UFC 207.

Nunes (14-4) won the belt almost a year ago when she submitted then-champion Miesha Tate with a first round rear-naked choke at UFC 200.

A highly regarded Muay Thai striker, Shevchenko has now dedicated her time fully to MMA. She won't be facing Rousey, at one point seen as the face of the UFC, or Tate, a suitable and marketable replacement as champion in the post-Rousey era. But her vastly underrated grappling is what secured Shevchenko this title shot.

Shevchenko (14-2) is a fighter who likes to keep the fight standing. She already spoke English from her schooling in Russia, but swiftly picked up Spanish through immersion: "When no one you meet speaks English and no one speaks Russian, it's very easy to learn Spanish".

When she faced former champ Holly Holm four months after losing to Nunes, it was another deliberately slow start as Shevchenko used early kicks to find her range. She wants to. She enjoys fighting. But Shevchenko is back and this evening could see the Russian crowned champion. None of those victories were more impressive than Romero's last fight when he knocked out former champion, Chris Weidman, with a flying knee that knocked Weidman out and left him bloody.

What is UFC 213 Fight Card?

What makes it so hard to predict is the obvious adjustment for each fighter from the first meeting.

What really stood out in this bout was her ability to turn it on in the championship rounds.

Representing Australia and New Zealand, Whittaker is driven by the possibility of being the first to take a UFC belt back to that part of the world.

With Bisping sidelined, Romero (12-1) - a 40-year-old Cuban with an eight-bout winning streak and an eye-popping physique even by MMA standards - will get his first UFC title shot against Whittaker (19-4), a New Zealand-born Australian who has won seven straight bouts.

  • Stacy Allen