The UFC women’s bantamweight division is front and center this weekend at UFC on FOX from Denver. The main event features a #1 contender bout between Julianna Pena and Valentine Shevchenko.
While a win would give Pena (9-2) a title shot, she has been steadfast in her belief that neither current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes nor former champion Ronda Rousey, are any match for her.
Her upcoming match with Shevchenko promises to be a good one. Both fighters get after it and love to come out swinging. While Pena doesn’t have quite the experience as Shevchenko, one cannot dispute the fire that burns inside the “Venezuelan Vixen”.
Pena’s career began in 2009 in Spokehane, Washington. She secured a submission victory in the first round and rode a 4-fight win streak to start her career. She hit a bump in the road, suffering back to back losses before joining The Ultimate Fighter.
It was on TUF that Pena really broke out. She ran through the competition, winning two of her three fights by submission. In the finale, she earned a 1st-round TKO victory over Jessica Rakoczy, winning the TUF tournament.
That win started her current 4-fight win streak that has led to her match with Shevchenko. It wasn’t as simple as it sounds, however.
Scheduled to meet Jessica Andrade at UFC 171, Pena had to pull out after suffering a serious injury to her knee. She suffered the injury while grappling in training, damaging her ACL, MCL, LCL, and meniscus. The injury caused her to miss all of 2014.
Her first fight back from the injury was in April of 2015, a year and a half after her last octagon appearance. She looked amazing in a 1st-round TKO win over Milana Dudieva, earning a “Performance of the Night” bonus.
Following that victory she notched wins over bantamweight contenders Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano. Following her victory over Zingano at UFC 200, Julianna felt a title shot was all but hers. That is until Ronda Rousey decided it was time to come back.
Julianna Pena now faces a tough task ahead of her in her quest for a title shot. But if there’s one thing her career has shown us, it’s that tough tasks come easy for the “Venezuelan Vixen”.