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Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington UFC 224 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 5/12/18

Pennington vs. Nunes

UFC: Saturday, May 12, 2018 (Jeunesse Arena)

The Line: Pennington +375 / Nunes -470 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: PPV

Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington fight Saturday during UFC 224 at the Jeunesse Arena.

Amanda Nunes enters this fight with a 15-4 record and has won 67 percent of her fights by knockout. Nunes has won each of her last six fights and is coming off a September win over Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes is averaging 4.28 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51.9 percent. Nunes is averaging 1.77 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 34.6 percent. Nunes is coming off a controversial split decision, a fight that I had her losing despite landing five more total strikes. Regardless, Nunes defended her belt for the second fight and will try to do so again here. Nunes has built the reputation of being one of the top strikers on the female side, as her combination of accuracy, power and aggressiveness is a formal few can handle. Once Nunes gets comfortable, it's a relentless offensive attack that usually ends badly for her opponent and has produced four knockouts in her last eight fights. Nunes’ ground game also can’t be overlooked, as she has an effective submission game and is fresh off a fight where she had two takedowns. This will be Nunes’ ninth career fight in Brazil, her birthplace. 

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Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington UFC 224 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 5/12/18

USA TODAY Sports

Raquel Pennington enters this fight with a 9-5 record and has won 56 percent of her fights by decision. Pennington has won each of her last four fights and is coming off a 2016 win over Miesha Tate. Pennington is averaging 3.8 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51.5 percent. Pennington is averaging 1.43 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 43.4 percent. Pennington hasn’t lost since her 2015 fight with Holly Holm, and she has a chance to really put herself on the map by overcoming the odds and beating one of the faces of the sport in her own backyard. Pennington has some power behind her strikes and can hold her own standing up, but she’s shown more grappling ability and ground work over her last few fights. Pennington is coming off a fight in which she had three submission attempts, and she’s won her last three bouts overall by decision. Pennington has excellent cardio to be effective in later rounds, and she’s one of the tougher fighters on the female side in terms of taking a punch. Pennington has never been knocked out and all but one of her losses have come by decision. The concern is we haven’t seen Pennington in the octagon in about a year and a half, so there’s sure to be rust. This will be Pennington’s first career fight outside of the United States. 

Nunez looked a little shaky in her last fight if we’re going to be honest, and that has to give the American confidence. Pennington may not have the explosive skill set to match the Brazilian, but she’s tough, has an effective ground game and could make this interesting if she can turn this into a grappling contest, taking Nunes into deep waters. However, we haven’t seen Pennington in the octagon in quite some time, and Nunes is 7-1 when fighting in her home country of Brazil, with that one loss coming in her MMA debut against Ana Maria India. Pennington just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to really scare Nunes from dictating this fight.

I like Nunes to win this bout.

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