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Julianna
Pena
was quite proud of her ability to battle through adversity
against Sara McMann
at
UFC 257
.

“The Venezuelan Vixen” spent the majority of the first round on her
back and was taken down again in Round 2, but Pena was able to stay
active from her back with submissions before returning to her feet,
where she attacked the Olympic silver medalist with knees and
punches. That momentum carried into the final stanza, as Pena
landed a takedown of her own, transitioned to McMann’s back and
secured a rear-naked choke submission at the 3:39 mark.

“The most important thing is to keep moving and keep the fight
going no matter what. Never be in a stalemate position, never be
flat on your back,” Pena said. “Always keep the fight going and
focus in every position that I am and be present in every position
that I am. If I’m on my back, I know that I can still threaten with
submissions off my back. I can still throw strikes as long as I’m
continuing to move throughout the fight, that’s all I care
about.

  “Of course there were times when you like wished you had
sprawled harder so she didn’t get the takedown quite so easily, but
I think that that just comes with the time,” Pena continued. “As
long as you can stay cool, calm and collected in there, I think
that that’s the most important thing. It’s just not to lose your
head and not to be over in the moment, just be in the present
moment and that’s what I focused on.”

The victory allowed “The Ultimate Fighter 18” winner to rebound
from a submission loss to Germaine
de Randamie
in her lone appearance of 2020. Overall, Pena is
6-2 in UFC competition, with her only other defeat coming at the
hands of current flyweight queen Valentina
Shevchenko
.

“You always learn from your losses, but Germaine was in the past,”
Pena said. “All those fights are in the past. I’m thinking about
moving forward and being present and Sara was my opponent. I was
thinking about Sara McMann
only. Now I can move forward and think about who’s next, but the
only person that I see that makes sense to me is Amanda
Nunes
.”

Nunes, the UFC’s reigning champion at featherweight and
bantamweight, is slated to defend her 145-pound belt against
Megan
Anderson
at UFC 259 on March 6. “Lioness” last put the
135-pound title on the line against de Randamie at UFC 245, where
she won a unanimous decision.

Pena believes her resume is deserving of a title shot and that her
skillset could cause some problems for Nunes.

“Coming off of fighting three former world champions in a row and
then I just beat the best wrestler in the division and Amanda can’t
fight wrestlers,” Pena said. “When you saw her fight against
Cat
Zingano
, she got ragdolled and got stopped in the second
round.

“I am a nightmare in this division. I’m coming off of a win in
devastating fashion, a rear-naked choke, a win by submission, a
stoppage. I think that that’s enough to give me the fight with
Amanda, especially since she is fighting a girl with only three
wins and a girl who hasn’t had quite the resume that I’ve had. I’ve
had the toughest road in the division, more than anybody.”


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