UFC 250: Nunes vs. Spencer Preview

A preview of Saturday’s UFC 250 card, set to take place in Las Vegas.

Updated: June 4, 2020 • 6:50 AM ET

A still Las Vegas reopens this week just in time for UFC 250 on Saturday.

Main eventing UFC 250 this Saturday in Las Vegas, women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes will defend the title against Felicia Spencer.

Nunes, also the reigning women’s bantamweight champion, will defend the featherweight belt for the first time since winning the title at UFC 232 in 2018 with a shocking first-round knockout of Cris Cyborg. With the win over Cyborg, Nunes became the first woman in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously. She won the bantamweight belt at UFC 200 with a victory over Miesha Tate in 2016 and has defended the title five times.

With six wins over current or former champions, Nunes is the greatest women’s MMA fighter of all time. Including Tate and Cyborg, the 32-year-old has victories over Germaine de Randamie (twice), Holly Holm, Raquel Pennington, Valentina Shevchenko (twice) and Ronda Rousey. The Brazilian plans on making history, again, on Saturday night.

“It will be history, you know?” Nunes recently said via Yahoo Sports. “I will get this one for sure. There is no doubt in my mind.

“I’m going to do my job and make some history. But my job has become history now. This is going to be the first [woman] to defend titles in two weight classes. History, you know? Now, when I fight, I’m making history.”

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Win or lose against Spencer, Nunes has acknowledged a bigger challenge in her life: becoming a first-time mother with her partner and fellow UFC fighter Nine Ansaroff.

“I think about her so much and what I’m going to say to her and what we’re going to do together,” Nunes said. “This is the best time of life, knowing you have a child on the way. I was telling Nina there are so many things we need to do and to think about it.

“Everything is going to be about the kid now. Before, I have my three dogs and my animals on the farm in Brazil, but this is so different. The baby will need me. I know this. I am going to give my life to [being the best mother] I can be.”

Despite looking ahead to life outside the Octagon, Nunes seems confident heading into this weekend’s bout.

“She has nothing to lose, and she’s going to make me be ready for everything,” Nunes said. “She doesn’t have that much, to be honest, and I see holes. I see these holes and I know how to take advantage. Just you watch.”

Spencer (8-1 overall) is 2-1 in the UFC with victories over Megan Anderson and most recently a first-round TKO of Zarah Fairn dos Santos in February. Her only loss came in a hard-fought fight against Cyborg at UFC 240 last July, but the 29-year-old former Invicta featherweight champion believes she has earned her opportunity to compete on fighting’s biggest stage.

“I’ve earned my spot here,” Spencer said via MMA Fighting. “I understand where people come from, especially if they’re not following the sport. I understand the division that I’m in is different and unique.

“All I stress about is what I can control, which is putting on a great performance and making people want to see me fight. That’s what I always try to do. Two out of the three fights I’ve had so far in the UFC have been first-round finishes. The other one was a decision that a lot of people were happy with as far as my performance, other people weren’t, but whatever. All I can do is put my best foot forward and hope the people want to see me again. If not, I’ll keep winning and take my spot.”

While Spencer may have earned her top contender spot in her last fight against Dos Santos, an argument could be made that she proved her contender status by going the distance with Cyborg. To beat Nunes, she’ll have to be better in every facet of the fight and not take massive punishment in exchanges like she did against Cyborg.

Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will be a bantamweight bout between No. 5 Raphael Assuncao and former champion Cody Garbrandt.

The 37-year-old Assuncao will attempt to rebound from two straight losses to Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen. He’s 11-4 in the UFC and had he beaten Moraes in a rematch in February 2019, Assuncao would have likely been granted a title shot, the one thing missing from his resume.

In his career, the Brazilian fighter has key victories over Rob Font, Matthew Lopez, Moraes, Aljamain Sterling, Bryan Caraway, Pedro Munhoz and TJ Dillashaw. A win over Garbrandt would keep Assuncao near the top of a loaded bantamweight division and in the mix for that ever-elusive title shot.

The No. 9 ranked Garbrandt has lost three straight fights, all by stoppage before the third round, since winning the title over Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in 2016. The losses came to Dillashaw (twice) and Pedro Munhoz. However, the 28-year-old Garbrandt can rebound in a big way with a win over a proven veteran in the top five of the rankings. Another devastating loss, though, could send Garbrandt out of the rankings after such a promising start to a UFC career.

 

The rest of the main card on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET

Bantamweight bout - No. 2 Aljamain Sterling vs. No. 4 Cory Sandhagen

Welterweight bout - Neil Magny vs. Anthony Rocco Martin

Bantamweight bout - Eddie Wineland vs. Sean O’Malley

 


ESPN Prelims at 8 p.m. ET

Featherweight bout - Alex Caceres vs. Chase Hooper

Middleweight bout - No. 13 Ian Heinisch vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Featherweight bout - No. 12 Cody Stamann vs. Brian Kelleher

Middleweight bout - Charles Byrd vs. Maki Pitolo

 

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims

Flyweight bout - No. 4 Jussier Formiga vs. No. 9 Alex Perez

Light heavyweight bout - Alonzo Menifield vs. Devin Clark

Catchweight bout (150 pounds) - Evan Dunham vs. Herbert Burns

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