UFC Vegas 24 will be the final event prior to the return of fans. While the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, the promotion has opened up the gate in few states for its PP card, starting with UFC 261 next weekend. But first, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will be taking on the former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum in a key middleweight match-up. Much earlier on the card, we will see the return of former strawweight title challenger Jessica Penne (12-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC). Penne was supposed to fight Hannah Goldy on March 27, but Goldy tested positive for COVID-19. They were rescheduled for UFC Vegas 24, but not fully recovered, Goldy had to pull out. For her first fight in four years, Penne will instead welcome newcomer Lupita Godinez to the UFC.
Lupita “Loopy” Godinez
Standing at 5’2″
Fighting at 115 lbs (strawweight)
Fighting out of Langley, British Columbia, Canada but from Aguascalientes, Mexico
Training out of Titan MMA
A pro record of 5-0
How will Godinez fare in the UFC:
Outside of MMA, Godinez has had two amateur boxing fights and one kickboxing fight. She also competed in some judo and jiu-jitsu tournaments, showing her willingness to hone all areas of her game and competitive drive.
What makes Godinez different is her ability to take a shot to give one. That’s not saying she takes a lot of damage because her output and accuracy have been so much better than her opponents. Of all the shots Godinez has taken on the jaw, she hasn’t been fazed nor shaken, as her toughness has prevailed. Godinez is solely a striker who really hasn’t used wrestling. She does have it in her back pocket, but she’d rather just catch kicks and dump her foes on their rears. That said, she could be a very underrated wrestler, we just haven’t needed to see it yet. She has the ability; not as much an intricate jiu-jitsu game, but she does have heavy top control.
The left hook is money from “Loopy.” Her best weapon. Godinez is someone that’s going to stay in your face throwing her hands, staying active, and throwing to the body perfectly. Although she doesn’t have a stoppage by KO/TKO, Godinez does indeed have some pop behind her hands. She is more modeled as a pressure striker who will batter women en-route to a decision. She’s the type of fighter that will send her opponents home looking like a different person and making them feel the damage they received for days. Even though I normally don’t like to see prospects get signed with five fights or less, at strawweight, this one gets a pass.
- Striking: A
- Kickboxing: B-
- Clinch: C+
- Wrestling: C
- Grappling: C
- Striking Defense: C+
- Takedown Defense: A
- Cardio: B+
- Biggest Strength: Striking
- Biggest Weakness: The unknown
How she matches up with Penne:
Right off it isn’t the experience Penne has that jumps out, but more so the long layoff. Penne hasn’t fought in nearly four years and she’s on a three-fight skid. Yes, two of those losses are to Jessica Andrade and Joanna Jędrzejczyk but her only UFC win was to Randa Markos in 2014. That’s the fight that earned her a title shot, but it was a split decision. Penne is the bigger fighter but I’m not even sold if Penne is even truly UFC level. I’ll side with the active fighter, the younger fighter, and the fighter with the most upside in Godinez.