The UFC’s centered card for Would possibly Nine misplaced a few of its luster when ladies’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes pulled out of her identify struggle towards Felicia Spencer, bringing up her inability to have a full training camp.

The Nunes-Spencer matchup used to be one among 3 scheduled identify bouts on what used to be thought to be a stacked card. Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje are scheduled to struggle for the intervening time light-weight belt, and Henry Cejudo is anticipated to protect his bantamweight identify towards Dominick Cruz.

How a lot has the lack of Nunes vs. Spencer decreased the centered card? Which struggle is must-see, out of doors of the principle tournament? ESPN MMA professionals Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Jeff Wagenheim and Marc Raimondi strive to reply to the ones questions and extra.

How does shedding this struggle harm the enchantment of the development centered for Would possibly 9?

Helwani: It is a blow, personally, within the sense that there’s just one respectable identify struggle at the card now. Additionally, I feel Spencer has a cast probability of giving Nunes a run for her cash. She informed me they’re hoping to rebook it in June, so confidently that’s the case.

Okamoto: It definitely stings — Amanda Nunes is broadly thought to be the best feminine fighter of all time, in an effort to take away her from an tournament, it is an obtrusive bummer. However should you have been into this card ahead of, I don’t believe you are canceling any plans to observe it on account of this piece of reports. This tournament, if it is going off, will have to be some of the most powerful playing cards in UFC historical past, which mustn’t come as a wonder. After suspending a couple of occasions during the last month, the UFC has a wealth of excellent matchups to pick out and make a choice from, and the vast majority of the athletes are prepared to compete on Would possibly 9. It would not wonder me if this card adjustments once more (and most likely, once more) by the point it in truth is going off, however I’ve a sense it’ll be a deep card irrespective of what occurs.

Raimondi: Truthfully, it does not harm a lot in any respect. If the cardboard occurs, it’s going to be the primary UFC tournament in just about two months. Lovers are chomping on the bit for fights, and the 3rd bout down from the highest — albeit a identify contest — is not going to discourage fanatics. The plan continues to be Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the intervening time UFC light-weight identify in the principle tournament. So long as this is preserved, the remaining is most commonly gravy. Give those who Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz bantamweight matchup plus Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik and you are already excessive.

Wagenheim: I don’t believe the lack of this struggle makes an enormous affect. I like observing Nunes, and I do know I am not on my own in that. And if her struggle have been the principle tournament, this may be an issue. However the Would possibly Nine card continues to be stacked even with out the featherweight identify struggle. And even though it were not so filled with interesting fights, I truthfully imagine that struggle fanatics are so starved for are living sports activities that they’d flock to no matter card Dana White may just cobble in combination.

Who’s your sleeper at 145 kilos?

Helwani: Felicia Spencer. That may appear bizarre taking into consideration she is a identify contender, however there simply are not that many featherweights presently. Megan Anderson continues to be a piece in growth and clearly somebody they’ve top hopes for.

Okamoto: I am gonna be actual with you. There is not one. There may be slightly a featherweight department to even talk of, let on my own a sleeper candidate. Here is your featherweight sleeper: any bantamweight who’s coming off a loss and sees a shorter trail to a UFC identify at 145 kilos. That is your sleeper.

Raimondi: There are simplest about seven opponents within the UFC’s 145-pound ladies’s department, so it is arduous to pick out a sleeper. After Spencer and most likely Megan Anderson get identify photographs, I do not know what the way forward for the department is, if there’s any. Until there is a large inflow of excellent ladies’s featherweight opponents coming in from different promotions, issues do not glance all that shiny.

Wagenheim: Wait, did the UFC signal some 145-pounders whilst I used to be dozing? I imply, the promotion’s web site lists simply 11 featherweight ladies, and that comes with the champ, in addition to two opponents (Cris Cyborg, Cat Zingano) now not within the UFC. Who is left? Spencer, Megan Anderson, Holly Holm, Tonya Evinger, an 0-2 fighter, plus an Invicta FC bantamweight champ. For a sleeper, we may wish to glance to the UFC’s extra stocked 135-pound department. Macy Chiasson, as an example, is 6-1 and started her occupation as a featherweight. Would possibly she catch on that it is a lot much less crowded up at 145, sometimes called the land of alternative?

How would you smash down Nunes-Spencer if it occurs later this yr?

Helwani: Spencer is supremely difficult and cast at the flooring. She has a greater probability of thrashing Nunes — no small feat — than any featherweight at the roster. In spite of shedding to Cris Cyborg final yr, she proved that she does not get intimidated and is hard as nails. If she will get this struggle to the bottom, she has a shot, surely.

Okamoto: Extra intriguing than a large number of other people suppose. Spencer continues to be reasonably unknown in spite of a decent appearing towards former champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino and 2 wins within the UFC. She’s soft-spoken, and does not have a horrifying spotlight reel of knockout finishes. It is going to be really easy for some to chalk her up as a sacrifice to the feminine GOAT after they ultimately meet. However Spencer is a actual featherweight so far as measurement is worried, and he or she’s an issue at the flooring. I am not announcing she beats Nunes, however can I image a global through which she’s ready to take Nunes down, stay her down, and sap her fuel tank? Sure, I will be able to image that international lovely simply. Nunes is the most obvious favourite, however she can’t have the funds for to take Spencer evenly. And apparently she is aware of that, given her resolution to place the struggle off till she’s absolutely ready.

Raimondi: Spencer used to be difficult and professional sufficient at the toes to hang out with Cris Cyborg for 3 rounds at UFC 240 final July. That is lovely spectacular. But additionally imagine that Nunes stopped Cyborg within the first spherical. Presently, Nunes is on every other stage, and Spencer successful could be an enormous dissatisfied. If Spencer may just take one certain out of Nunes’ struggle towards Germaine de Randamie from UFC 245 in December, it could be {that a} proficient striker can power Nunes into mistakes. On the other hand, will Spencer be capable to prevent the inevitable takedown makes an attempt if that occurs? De Randamie may just now not.

Wagenheim: Spencer were given extra kudos for her lone defeat than her 8 occupation wins. Bloodying up Cris Cyborg and striking along with her for 3 rounds final July did say so much in regards to the 29-year-old’s toughness. And her grappling sport may just pose a risk to Nunes if the champ will get stuck in a nasty place. However we are greedy at straws right here. Nunes is the most efficient within the sport presently, and he or she holds a uncomplicated benefit over Spencer regardless of the place the struggle is going. It could be a shocking dissatisfied to listen to “And new …”

What is the one struggle in this card you wish to have to peer, instead of the principle tournament?

Helwani: A lot to choose between, however in the end, I’m actually intrigued via whether or not Dominick Cruz can flip again the clock once more after every other lengthy layoff to overcome Henry Cejudo. They have got a deep backstory and cast contention, however most significantly, if ring rust actually is not an element for Cruz, which may be attention-grabbing theater.

Okamoto: So far as the centered card, I actually, actually need to see the heavyweight matchup between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. As soon as upon a time, ahead of the coronavirus interrupted sports activities, that used to be a UFC Struggle Night time leading tournament. And a perfect one. From what I have heard, that struggle isn’t respectable simply but although, so we will see if it occurs on Would possibly 9. Jeremy Stephens as opposed to Calvin Kattar is a phenomenal struggle, and someone who has listened to me a lot during the last six months most likely is aware of I’m obsessive about the UFC’s featherweight department presently. I feel it is the maximum intriguing department within the game. The sleeper for struggle of the evening, although, is Vicente Luque as opposed to Niko Price.


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