Julianna Pena
Julianna Pena via ESPN MMA YouTube

MMA fans who were looking forward to seeing Julianna Peña face off against current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes to complete their fight trilogy will probably have to wait longer than expected, after it was announced by UFC President Dana White that due to a severe rib injury, Peña will be unable to face Nunes at UFC 289 in June.

Julianna Pena

Julianna Pena via The Pivot Podcast YouTube

While originally scheduled to fight Peña, the reigning champion will now be going up against challenger Irene Aldana for the title shot. The two will now be headlining the highly anticipated 135-pound matchup in Vancouver, Canada, as the top card fight for this pay-per-view event.

“Unfortunately, Peña broke her ribs and she cannot compete,” said White in a statement. “We have Irene Aldana coming in, who has won four of her last five and three of those were finishes. We could have another Mexican world champion.”

Aldana has a record of 8-4 in the UFC, and earned a pretty wild victory in 2019 when she knocked out opponent Ketlen Vieira during the first round.

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If Aldana manages to defeat Nunes, this will be Nunes’ first defeat since losing to Holly Holm in 2020. This would make Aldana the fourth Mexican-born champion in the league’s history.

While Nunes is considered currently to be the MMA world’s best pound-for-pound female fighter, she did lose to Peña back in 2021, eventually managing a comeback and defeating Peña soundly last summer. MMA fans know that anything can happen and nothing is written in stone however.

Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes via MMAweekly.com YouTube

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Filling out the card will also be lightweight fighters Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush. Luckily that match remains the same after worries broke out that an injury Oliveira suffered postponed their original fight in May.

Who do you think will reign victorious? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.

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