On FS1’s “UFC Tonight,” the panel discussed the strengths of each fighter in tomorrow night’s UFC on Fox main event between Julianna Pena and Valentina Shevchenko. As is typical in a show like this, each panelist – Daniel Cormier and Kenny Florian – give different takes. Meisha Tate also contributed to the discussion.
•Florian touted Shevchenko. “She’s a very high-level and diverse fighter. She will embarrass you. She made Holly chase her and countered her the whole night. She strikes in a number of different ways. She is very dangerous… She’s nasty and mean. She’s a high-pressure fighter. Her striking has improved. She will use hands and kicks to set up takedowns.” He picked her to win. “I think this is a tougher style matchup than a lot of people think,” he said. “Shevchenko is better on her feet than Pena, and improving her wrestling game, which she’ll need. I think she gets the upset by decision.”
•Cormier touted Pena: “Julianna Pena maybe the nastiest fighter in the UFC across all divisions. She wants to swarm you, push you… Her forward pressure and pace will be too much for Shevchenko.”
•Miesha Tate on how Shevchenko needs to fight Pena: “Valentina is a master at controlling distance. She needs to keep Pena at distance with her strikes. She’s great in the clinch, has great takedowns and has five submission victories, so she can win on the ground as well.”
•Tate on Pena’s best path to victory: “She is so tenacious, hungry and obsessed. She eats, sleeps and lives MMA. She’s going to stop at nothing to win this fight. She wants to gets arms around her opponent, get it to the ground, and she shines and gets a submission.”
Ultimately, Tate picked Pena to win. “She’s a beast,” he said. “She’s going to take this fight to the ground and finish her. She packs a punch. Every punch is with knockout power.”