Women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and top contender Valentia Shevchenko were scheduled to headline UFC 213 in July, but Nunes withdrew from the fight just hours before the event’s start due to illness. The two had previously fought at UFC 196 with Nunes winning by unanimous decision, but it was a three-round bout. The fight was rescheduled for Saturday at UFC 215.
“It’s not easy to fight not 100-percent, you know. I never pull out of the fight ever in my career. Never happened before. But never happened and unfortunately, first time it happened. But we scheduled the fight already and everything is going to be fine. I’m 100-percent right now and we’ll see what happens,” said Nunes during a media conference call.
Nunes was diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and sought out a specialist to help her recover from the illness and prevent it from happening again. She has no regrets about pulling out of the UFC 213 bout.
“(The doctors) got me to top form to be stepping in the cages at 100-percent. I think every fighter training wants that 100-percent and not like 50-percent. I think I make the right decisions. Now is not the time to waste, you know? I’m going to step in (on Saturday), 100-percent. I will get the job done,” she said.
When the two fought at UFC 196, Nunes won the first two rounds, but Shevchenko won the third and had momentum swinging to her favor if the fight had been scheduled for five rounds.
“For me, I beat Valentina by unanimous decision. I beat Valentina two rounds clear. If you watch the fight, if you go right now, watch all the fight again, Valentina comes back in the third round. Okay, she beat me in the third round. I give it to her the third round, but I beat her two rounds in that fight.
“And I beat her by unanimous decision and then I went back home, fixed my mistakes from that fight. I watched that fight again of course. I went over and over my mistakes the good things that I did, now I feel ready for a next step,” she said.
Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was scheduled to face challenger Ray Borg in the UFC 215 main event, but Borg was forced out of the title fight due to illness. The Nunes and Shevchenko rematch was elevated to headlining status. Nunes doesn’t care where she fights on the fight card.
“If it’s the main event or the first fight of the night, I fight the same. I’m going to keep my belt, walk away, go home, drink some beer, and then enjoy celebrate with all my friends, my girlfriend, and my son.”
(Photo courtesy of UFC)