Raquel Pennington opens as betting favorite to beat Julianna Peña after championship win at UFC 297

Raquel Pennington opens as betting favorite to beat Julianna Peña after UFC 297 title win

Newly minted undisputed bantamweight champion, Raquel Pennington has opened as a betting favorite to beat former titleholder, Julianna Peña in a future title fight – following her coronation at UFC 297 over the course of the weekend in Toronto.

Pennington, who co-headlined UFC 297 over the course of the weekend in ‘The Great White North’ – turned in a one-sided unanimous decision win over Mayra Bueno Silva in her second pursuit of the bantamweight crown.

Sidelined herself for the prior year, former champion and The Ultimate Fighter winner, Peña has yet to feature since July 2022, most recently suffering a championship fight loss to common-foe, Amanda Nunes in the pair’s title clash rematch.

And forced from a title trilogy rubber match with Nunes at UFC 289 back in June of last year amid an injury, Peña was replaced by Irene Aldana, with the Mexican suffering a unanimous decision loss in what came as Brazilian favorite, Nunes’ final fight.

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Welcoming a first title defense against Peña after her one-sided judging win over Bueno Silva at UFC 297 over the course of the weekend, Raquel Pennington has opened as a -150 betting favorite to beat the +130 betting underdog and former gold holder, Peña if they share the Octagon.

Raquel Pennington backed to beat Julianna Peña in UFC title fight

And mentioning her intentions to score a fight with Raquel Pennington as soon as the summer – Julianna Peña has one eye on a potential International Fight Week event in June, which is slated for Las Vegas, where fans and spectators can choose to play the best slots to play online for real money.

Voicing her interest in a quickfire turnaround against Peña in the immediate aftermath of her title fight victory against Bueno Silva in Canada, Pennington notably pointed to the pair’s stint on the above-mentioned Ultimate Fighter – as an interesting storyline for the duo’s expected grudge fight for gold. 

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“That’s the fight that makes sense,” Raquel Pennington said of a bout with Julianna Peña whilst speaking after UFC 297. “ I honestly thought that for the world title it was going to be me and Julianna, but she’s still injured.”

“That relationship just goes back to 2013 when we were both back in The Ultimate Fighter,” Raquel Pennington explained. “Let’s just say, I learned Julianna’s personality then, and it’s kind of one of those where you stay your way, and I’ll stay mine, but you get under my damn skin, I’ve been waiting for that fight for 13 years – whether the title is on the line or not.” 

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A potential spanner may be thrown into the works for Peña, however, with the above-noted former duel-weight champion, Nunes appearing not so committal on her June retirement, amid her prior TKO win over Pennington, and failing to close the door completely on a return to the sport. 

“We’ll see what happens, you know,” Amanda Nunes told Megan Olivi following UFC 297. “I’m still young, you know – fresh. You know, like, you never know. We have a lot of things to do, I have a lot of things to figure out at home still – what I’m gonna do. And, we’ll see what happens.”

“I don’t know, you know,” Amanda Nunes explained when asked if the door remained open on her return. “I’m a fighter, you know. This is my job. And I love this so much, and I don’t know.”