Julianna Peña thought Taila Santos won against Valentina Shevchenko.
The UFC bantamweight champion expected to hear ‘And New’ after Santos’ performance against Shevchenko at UFC 275 earlier this month. The No. 2 ranked contender found success with her takedowns and control on the ground throughout the first three rounds, but the champion responded with her striking in the fourth and fifth rounds.
When the judges’ scorecards were read, Shevchenko emerged victorious by split decision and retained her flyweight championship for the seventh consecutive time. However, not everyone agreed with that decision, including Peña, who recently told the Schmo that the judges got it wrong and Santos should have got the win.
“I had Taila winning,” said Peña. “She beat her with one eye, and she still lost. It was horrible.”
Santos was compromised after an accidental clash of heads led to her right eye becoming swollen. The Brazilian could no longer see but still gave Shevchenko one of the toughest tests of her career thus far.
Now that Shevchenko has dispatched another contender, the focus has shifted to who should be next for her. There are several options, including the winner of the fight between Lauren Murphy and Miesha Tate which has now been moved from UFC 276 to UFC Long Island. If that is indeed the direction the UFC would prefer, Peña is all for it, especially if her longtime friend and training partner could get a shot at Shevchenko.
There is also a potential rematch that Shevchenko could consider. Should Peña defeat Amanda Nunes again and Shevchenko return to bantamweight, the ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ would be more than happy to try and avenge a loss. The ‘Bullet’ submitted Peña with an armbar in the second round of their fight at UFC on FOX 23 over five years ago.
“I’m excited to see what happens this weekend with Miesha Tate’s fight and with Lauren Murphy,” said Peña. “I would love to see Miesha get that shot at the belt with Valentina.
“I know that me and Valentina also have some unfinished business that I would like to get the rematch and run it back, as well,” continued Peña. “But I definitely thought that Taila did enough to win, and I was disappointed that she didn’t get the nod.”
Before she can entertain Shevchenko, Peña has a rematch against the aforementioned Nunes to deal with first. Peña vs. Nunes 2 serves as the headliner for UFC 277, the upcoming pay-per-event scheduled for July 30 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.