Tonight, Julianna Peña takes on the biggest challenge of her young MMA career at UFC 192 in Houston.
Her opponent, Jessica Eye, is 11-3 in MMA and is officially ranked #6 in the women’s bantamweight division by the UFC.
But although she officially has eight fights and is unranked by the UFC, Peña is as much as a -250 favorite in online betting systems, per Best Fight Odds — and it’s not hard to see why. She’s won both her UFC bouts via finish in dominant fashion, including a first round TKO of Milana Dudieva in April.
Pena, who also won three unofficial bouts en route to winning The Ultimate Fighter season 18, believes a showdown with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is a possibility with a win tonight.
“I think I’ve proven I’ve been a finisher,” Pena said to MMA Junkie. “I demolished everyone they put in front of me on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and those were real fist fights to me. That puts me at 5-0 (in the UFC), and after Saturday night I’ll be 6-0. The only other girl out there that’s 6-0 right now is Ronda. We’re both proven finishers, so I feel like that makes sense. I feel like that’s a fight some people want to see.”
The Washington State native Peña, who goes by the nickname “The Venezuelan Vixen,” called tonight’s showdown with Eye “definitely the biggest challenge of my career.”
“I’m just looking forward to getting in there and going toe-to-toe with a girl I know has a chip on her shoulder and is looking for a win,” she says.