Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight strikers Raquel Pennington and Germaine de Randamie will battle this Saturday (Nov. 10, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 139 inside Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Pennington certainly deserved her title shot back in May, but it was one of the most one-sided beatings in recent memory. Still a Top 5-ranked contender, Pennington faces a difficult road to bounce back from that loss, but it has to begin with this fight. Meanwhile, de Randamie technically won a UFC title in her last match, but has there ever been a more disastrous title win … or reign? “The Iron Lady” entered her bout with Holly Holm as a respected veteran with serious credentials, but now she’s largely viewed as the cheap-shotter who ducked Cris Cyborg.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Miesha Tate (UFC 205), Jessica Andrade (UFC 189), Bethe Correira (UFC on FOX 19), Ashlee Evans-Smith (UFC 181)
Key Losses: Amanda Nunes (UFC 224), Holly Holm (UFC 184), Cat Zingano (Invicta FC 3), Jessica Andrade (UFC 171)
Keys to Victory: Pennington is a well-rounded mixed martial artist whose grit and pace set her apart. A solid boxer — particularly from close range — Pennington can also mix it up and score submission wins as well.
Generally, Pennington’s problem is that she isn’t the fastest woman on the roster. De Randamie will have a size and range advantage, and the skill to make use of it, which means that closing the distance will be pivotal for “Rocky.” When closing the distance, speed is important, and that means Pennington is in for a difficult fight.
Difficult, but definitely not unwinnable. De Randamie is the far superior kickboxer, but the rest of her MMA game is really not great. As such, it’s in Pennington’s best interest to force a grappling match as much as possible. Holm managed to clinch and get good position on de Randamie many times, but failed to capitalize, whereas Pennington should be able to take top position if able to land those same positions.
Germaine de Randamie
Key Wins: Holly Holm (UFC 208), Julie Kedzie (UFC on FOX 8), Anna Elmose (UFC Fight Night 87), Larissa Pacheco (UFC 185)
Key Losses: Amanda Nunes (UFC Fight for the Troops 3)
Keys to Victory: Easy to forget amongst all the controversy surrounding “GDR” is that the Dutch kickboxer is a multiple-time kickboxing champion with a reported record of 37-0 in the ring. She’s legitimately nasty on the feet and not an easy out for anyone in the division.
For de Randamie, denying Pennington any chance to clinch or close distance is the biggest key here. As such, I’d like to see her really focus on speed, landing quick shots at range and circling before Pennington can follow up with counters. In addition to some extra jabs, low kicks will be very helpful here, as Pennington is often knocked from her stance by the strike.
If de Randamie is sticking-and-moving, she will almost certainly be getting the better of Pennington and forcing the American to do something dramatic. De Randamie keeps her right handed loaded and ready to fire at all times, and a clean shot is Pennington pushed forward could be all she needs to end this one early.
Bottom Line: Both these women are in the Top 5, so this should be a fight with some sort of title implication.
It really doesn’t feel that way though.
In Pennington’s case, I don’t know if UFC would ever give her a rematch with Nunes — the loss was too ugly. It would take a win streak of epic proportions for that to happen. So while it benefits Pennington to return to the win column just in case someone manages to dethrone “Lioness,” it’s still going to take some time and multiple wins.
As for de Randamie, she is technically on a three-fight win streak and definitely in a better position than Pennington. With another win, she’s among the most deserving contenders at 135 pounds, but she is hamstrung by the aforementioned controversy and a 2013 loss to Nunes. It’s not impossible that de Randamie earns a title shot in the near future, but I also definitely would not count on it.
At UFC Fight Night 139, Raquel Pennington and Germaine de Randamie will go to war. Which woman will earn the victory?