Julianna Pena meets Jessica Andrade in first non-TUF fight at UFC 171

julianna pena and jessica andrade split
Julianna Pena has a tough task in her UFC debut.
FOX Sports Marc Raimondi
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From TUF to a pretty tough matchup.

Julianna Pena, the Ultimate Fighter 18 winner, will make her non-TUF UFC debut against Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas. Pena became the first-ever women’s Ultimate Fighter winner when she steamrolled Jessica Rakoczy in the final last month.

She will not have an easy time against Andrade, who is coming off a victory against women’s MMA veteran Rosi Sexton in October. The 22-year-old Brazilian is a solid prospect with a 10-3 record and nine of her wins coming via finish. She has a loss in the UFC, but it’s to former No. 1 contender Liz Carmouche back in July.

Pena (5-2), 24, was dominant on The Ultimate Fighter, finishing both Shayna Baszler and Sarah Moras by submission before pounding out Rakoczy by TKO at the TUF Finale. She came into the show losing her last two fights, but has clearly found another gear — one that many believe could make her a title contender in the not-so-distant future.

It also doesn’t hurt that she has a ready-made feud with champion Ronda Rousey. Pena competed for the team of Rousey’s rival Miesha Tate. And Pena and Rousey have not disguised their dislike for each other.

UFC 171 is headlined by a fight for the vacant welterweight title between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.

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