UFC 269 Nunes vs Pena Picks: Overmatched Pena is Massive Longshot Against Champ

Bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes is the overwhelming favorite in her latest title defense coming against Julianna Pena. Pena is wildly overmatched against the UFC's best women's fighter. Read on for our picks and predictions for UFC Fight Night on Dec. 11.

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2021 3:36 PM ET Read Time: 5 min

Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena is the co-main event for UFC 269 betting on December 11. This matchup was originally scheduled for August, but Nunes withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19.

Nunes is the top pound-for-pound female fighter in the world and will be making her sixth defense of the bantamweight title. Oddsmakers expect her to easily retain her belt with UFC betting lines installing her as a whopping -833 favorite while the challenger Pena comes back at +500.

Here are our best free Nunes vs. Pena picks and predictions for Saturday, December 11 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

Nunes vs Pena fight odds

Live odds courtesy of the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Nunes vs Pena method of victory odds

Method of Victory Amanda Nunes Julianna Pena
To win by KO/TKO -155 +1,600
To win by Points +500 +1,400
To win by Submission +390 +2,000
Draw +5,000 +5,000

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook as of November 29, 2021.

Nunes vs Pena picks

Click on the pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Nunes vs Pena betting preview

Amanda "The Lioness" Nunes is the reigning women's bantamweight and featherweight champion and is widely considered the greatest female fighter in MMA history. 

Nunes is on a 12-fight winning streak with her most recent victory coming by way of first-round submission against Megan Anderson in March. Her previous defense of the bantamweight title was against Germaine de Randamie in December of 2019 when she won by unanimous decision. She also has first-round finishes over former champs Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, and Miesha Tate.

The Lioness is a complete fighter with terrific grappling ability and powerful takedowns, along with vicious ground and pound. But it's her powerful and accurate striking that really sets her apart as she lands 4.50 significant strikes per minute while absorbing just 2.45.  

Julianna Pena is the No. 5-ranked women's bantamweight contender and is fresh off a submission win over Sara McMann at UFC 257 in January. That victory allowed her to bounce back from a submission loss to de Randamie and improved her record to 6-2 in her last eight fights. 

The "Venezuelan Vixen" is a grappling specialist who is at her best on the mat. 

Nunes vs Pena tale of the tape

Amanda Nunes   Julianna Pena
33 Age 32
5-foot-8 Height 5-foot-6
135 lbs Weight 135 lbs
69 inches Reach 69 inches
21-4-0 (13 KO) Record 11-4-0 (3 KO)

Nunes vs Pena UFC prediction and betting picks

Let's not beat around the bush, Pena is only the fifth-highest ranked bantamweight contender and is No. 15 in the UFC women's pound-for-pound rankings. She's only getting a title shot against Nunes because the GOAT has cleaned out the division.

Nunes is better in every category across the board and as long she keeps her mental edge she will continue her winning streak. That said, at -833 there's no reason to this line (unless you add it on to a parlay) so let's grab some betting value with our next two picks. 

Pena has holes in her striking and Nunes will piece her up with her accuracy, speed, and power. For that reason, backing Nunes to win by KO/TKO seems like the most likely outcome.

Pena's biggest strength is her grappling ability but her defensive wrestling is subpar and her last two losses came by way of submission.

She can be overpowered by stronger fighters on the mat and Nunes has terrific strength along with vicious ground and pound which could lead to a knockout victory for her even if this fight ends up on the ground. 

Nunes' winning streak stretches all the way back to 2015 and reveals an interesting trend. While seven of those 12 wins ended by first-round finish, the other five went at least a full three rounds. Generally, if a fighter is good enough to get through the first round they will be able to make it through the next two as well.

The question is whether or not Pena is good enough to survive that opening onslaught. Three of those decision wins for Nunes came against Valentina Shevchenko (twice) and de Randamie, both of whom finished Pena and proved they were on a higher level than the Venezuelan fighter. Pena also tends to start slowly in her fights, which could lead to a quick finish at Nunes' powerful hands. 

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