UFC 213 Bantamweight Championship Headliner Scrapped Due to Amanda Nunes Illness

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

Nunes, a black belt in BJJ and a brown belt in Judo, is known for her ground game, but has looked great on her feet her last few fights. Nunes won by decision. Bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko stays warm while training, while reigning champion Amanda Nunes turns her hotel room into a walk-in sauna and dance party.

After winning the first two rounds, Nunes worn out and nearly allowed Shevchenko to steal a late win. In addition, Romero is one of the most decorated wrestlers on the UFC roster, but he's also showcased fearsome power and athleticism.

Then there is the relationship between Nunes' appearance and her marketability. She decimated Rousey in 48 seconds, landing 27 strikes while absorbing just seven.

UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has channelled her inner Donald Cerrone in attempting to step in at the eleventh hour.

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A highly regarded Muay Thai striker, Shevchenko has now dedicated her time fully to MMA. But her vastly underrated grappling is what secured Shevchenko this title shot. 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".

Fighting is the driving force in her life, but it doesn't define her.

Shevchenko has been on a tear herself, defeating former champion Holly Holm and submitting top contender Julianna Pena in January of this year. That might be why Shevchenko will be a slight favorite in the rematch. No one wanted to fight [Ronaldo] "Jacare" Souza and Whittaker went out there and took him out, knocked him out in impression fashion as well. She now calls Peru home, but trains for her fights largely in Thailand and the U.S. Jose Aldo was forced out of UFC 189 in 2015 before he was replaced by Chad Mendes in a title fight against Conor McGregor.

Looking to take that belt is Valentina Shevchenko. Romero wrestled for Cuba in two Olympics before defecting in 2007, and he started his MMA career in 2009 - the same year that Whittaker first stepped into a cage. If the first bout were a five-rounder, conventional wisdom is that Shevchenko would've either finished the gassed Brazilian or continued to pull away to level points in the championship rounds.

That being said, Florian feels that the hype surrounding Romero versus Whittaker this weekend could then parlay into a very big fight with Bisping later this year and that ultimately should be the fight to happen.

  • Lawrence Cooper