UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey takes place on December 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, USA. The highly anticipated return of the former champion pits Ronda Rousey (12-1) against the fearsome reigning Bantamweight queen, Amanda Nunes (13-4), in the evening’s main event.
Brazil’s Nunes snatched the 135lb crown with ferocity from Miesha Tate, a long time rival of Rousey. At UFC 200 in July ‘The Lioness’ stalked Tate with immensely powerful strikes. Arguably the hardest puncher among the Women’s Bantamweight ranks, Nunes stunned Tate on the feet before securing a first round stoppage on the ground via a rear-naked-choke submission.
Nunes’ striking prowess comes in tandem with a black belt in BJJ, and each facet has complimented the other in her victories. Riding a four-fight win streak with a 6-1 record in the UFC, Nunes is showcasing the best form of her career. Prior to facing Tate, she dispatched of former title challenger and Olympic wrestling veteran Sara McMann, again with a rear-naked-choke in the opening round. Nunes earned her first shot at the title back in March with a Unanimous Decision victory over kickboxing master Valentina Shevchenko.
Rousey’s big return has been cloaked with silence due to a media blackout, greatly adding to the mystery and speculation of what can be expected from the former champion. Having stepped away for over a year after the devastating knockout loss to striking specialist and former boxing world champion Holly Holm, in November of 2015, Rousey remained hidden for the most part as she battled the mental anguish of her first career loss. The Olympic Judo medalist has been pictured in impressive physical condition as her return draws near, but is Rousey mentally prepared, and has she made the necessary improvements to be ready for another of the Women’s division’s more impressive strikers? We will find out on December 30 when her actions do the talking.
In the UFC 207 co-main event, Men’s Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (22-1) will aim to impose another masterful performance when he takes on bitter rival Cody Garbrandt (10-0). The promotional build up has been greatly complimented by Cruz’s mental jibes; a calm and calculated tactic that he has become known to force on notable rivals such as Urijah Faber and T.J. Dillashaw with great effect, and the champion’s words appear to have forced an emotional response from the young Garbrandt. Cruz has remained undefeated since his only loss 2007, with a run of 13 straight wins since. From his amateur wrestling roots, Cruz has grown to become one of the most well rounded fighters and top pound-for-pound champions. With masterful boxing technique and delightful footwork, Cruz has a seemingly unique ability to land shots from all varieties of angles and stands as one of the hardest men to hit in UFC history.
In contrast, Garbrandt is a fresh faced challenger whose place in the title picture is well justified. At 25-years-old he is six years younger than Cruz, 31, and despite being the less experienced competitor by a great margin, he has produced undeniable knockout power with 9 of his 10 career wins coming by way of KO/TKO, including a trio of first round stoppages in his last three UFC bouts.
UFC 207 Full card below:
Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
Men’s Bantamweight Championship: Dominick Cruz (c) vs. Cody Garbrandt
Bantamweight: T.J. Dillashaw vs. John Lineker
Welterweight: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Flyweight: Louis Smolka vs. Ray Borg
Welterweight: Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny
Welterweight: Mike Pyle vs. Alex Garcia
Middleweight: Antônio Carlos Júnior vs. Marvin Vettori
Welterweight: Brandon Thatch vs. Niko Price
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Welterweight: Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means
By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran