Amanda Nunes has been tabbed as a late injury replacement to square off against Sarah Kaufman at the TUF: Nations finale in Quebec City on April 16. The change came about after Shayna Baszler was forced to withdraw from her scheduled UFC debut against the gritty Kaufman because of an injury.
Nunes had been slated to meet Alexis Dufresne at UFC on FOX 11, but after Dufresne sustained a rib injury, Nunes will now face a top-five competitor in Kaufman. Nunes has been destructive in her two Octagon appearances, securing a pair of first-round stoppages against Sheila Gaff and Germaine de Randamie. She’s a physically strong competitor who has showcased strong striking and ground-and-pound skills.
Nunes has registered eight knockouts in nine career victories. “The Lioness” is currently ranked no. 8 in the women’s bantamweight division, and she will get her stiffest career test against the former Strikeforce champion.
Kaufman has registered an impressive 16-2-1 record during her career and has shown a tendency to be involved in highly entertaining affairs. She’s definitely faced the better competition, and her only official career losses have come against standouts Ronda Rousey and Marloes Coenen.
She has recorded victories over the likes of Baszler, Alexis Davis, Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche. Kaufman’s 10 career knockouts are a testament to her strong striking skills. She’s known for her volume punching and good cardio.
Kaufman is in search of her first UFC victory after falling short against Jessica Eye in her Octagon debut. That bout at UFC 166 was initially declared a split decision win for Eye, but later was overturned to a no-contest after Eye failed her post-fight drug test.
This has the makings of being a highly entertaining battle between two competitors looking to make some noise in a division that’s currently dominated by the champion Rousey. The winner will likely still be a ways off a title shot, but will certainly have themselves within striking distance of landing a high-profile opportunity moving forward.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports