All Amanda Nunes is asking for is a little respect

On Saturday, Nunes will fight at UFC 213, defending her bantamweight title in a rematch with Valentina Shevchenko at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas-Nunes won the first matchup back in March 2016 by unanimous decision. The Kyrgyz punished Nunes' half-hearted takedown attempt and landed in side control, a takedown in her only attempt. Nunes finished with a 40-3 striking advantage to capture the women's bantamweight belt. Nunes is excellent in the first round of fights and typically able to start off with a lead in her bouts. Nunes won by decision. UFC 200 was huge, and UFC 207 was even bigger.

Ready to rumble: Amanda Nunes (left) and Valentina Shevchenko stare each other down.

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. Nunes dominated the second round but then struggled, and Shevchenko pressed forward before running out of time to finish the Brazilian star. "Lioness" last appeared at UFC 207 on December 30, when she knocked out Ronda Rousey in 48 seconds.

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A highly regarded Muay Thai striker, Shevchenko has now dedicated her time fully to MMA. The former dominant champion and trailblazer has yet to officially retire from the sport, but seven months removed from most recent outing, we can safely assume her time inside the cage has come to a close. 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". She holds quality wins over some of the division's top-ranked fighters, outstriking Holly Holm and submitting Julianna Pena in her last two bouts. Whether her back was against the cage or the mat, as it was after an eventual takedown by Peña, Shevchenko's calmness prevented overexposure. That might be why Shevchenko will be a slight favorite in the rematch. "In a relatively short amount of time, we've seen the women's fighters become more and more risky, more experienced and more well rounded", Florian said. It was depending on my last fight.

What is UFC 213 Fight Card? "The Lionness" got the better of the Russian in the early rounds, but "The Bullet" regrouped and many thought if the match was longer, Shevchenko would have taken the win, but it wasn't to be.

Whittaker has had an emergence in recent times and his last win over the unsafe Jacare Souza showed the rest of the division that this Australian can hang with the best in the world, and with Romero now standing in his way, the 27-year-old is on the cusp of achieving something special.

  • Tabitha Byrd