Amanda Nunes enters UFC 259 with an 11-fight winning streak, which includes capturing two UFC titles and six title defenses in both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. Her seventh title defense will test her as she faces Megan Anderson, an under-the-radar featherweight title challenger.
Although UFC 259 is stacked with three title matches, Anderson is probably a big unknown to most MMA fans on this card.
Anderson owns a 3-2 record in the UFC. She signed with the promotion in 2017 and was set to make her debut at UFC 214 against Cris Cyborg for the inaugural UFC Featherweight Championship match until she had to pull out of the fight due to a personal matter. Four years later, she earned another opportunity to fight for UFC gold.
Anderson has a couple of traits that she brings to the octagon that not many of Nunes’ past opponents have had.
First, all three of Anderson’s UFC wins came in the first round. After a disappointing UFC debut against Holly Holm, Anderson defeated Cat Zingano with a head kick that injured Zingano’s eye. This forced referee Marc Goddard to step in and stop the fight as Zingano could not continue in the fight.
After losing to Felicia Spencer in May of 2019, Anderson got back in the win column after she submitted Zarah Fairn Dos Santos and knocked out Norma Dumont Viana, which translated to a performance bonus.
While some might say Anderson finished unknowns in the UFC at 145 pounds, it is worth noting that this is not anything new for her. After losing in her debut at Invicta FC, Anderson scored TKO victories against Amber Leibrock, Amanda Bell, Peggy Morgan and Charmaine Tweet, all of which were performance or fight of the night bonuses for Anderson. Anderson defeated Tweet to capture the vacant Invicta FC Featherweight title, which was previously held by Cyborg.
The other threat Anderson poses is her size compared to Nunes. Nunes is 5-8 while Anderson is 6-0. Anderson is the tallest fighter Nunes will have faced in her career as Anderson has a four-inch advantage. Anderson also has a 72.5 reach, which bests Nunes by 3.5 inches.
The closest fighter Nunes has faced to Anderson in terms of size is Germaine de Randamie. De Randamie is 5-9, being three inches shorter than Anderson, and has a reach of 71, which is 1.5 inches shorter than Anderson’s.
Nunes is a massive favorite to win this fight as she is placed as at least a -1000 favorite on most betting websites. Due to Anderson being unknown to many outside dedicated MMA aficionados, the general public has been led to believe that Nunes can make this look easy. But don’t be surprised when it isn’t easy. In fact, don’t be surprised if Bruce Buffer announces Anderson as the winner while Dana White wraps the belt around her waist.
If there was ever a fighter not named Valentina Shevchenko that could challenge Nunes in a fight, Anderson is that opponent. With her ability to finish fights, her size and having James Krause in her corner, Anderson has the tools she needs to pull off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.