On Saturday night, in the main event of the UFC’s latest trip to Denver, Julianna Peña stepped into the cage with dangerous Kyrgyzstani striker Valentina Shevchenko. She entered this bout on an impressive four-fight win-streak, and if she’d extended that streak to five with a win over Shevchenko, she would have earned herself a shot at Amanda Nunes and the UFC women’s bantamweight title she guards so ferociously.
Regrettably for Peña and her many fans, Saturday night was not her night. In advance of the fight, the consensus seemed to be that she had a significant grappling edge over her striking-based foe. In the end, however, Shevchenko was able to succeed on two takedowns in the first round, and in the second, lock up an arm-bar for the win. And just like that Peña’s title dreams came to a skittering – if temporary – halt.
On Sunday night, The Venezuelan Vixen took to her personal Facebook page to issue a statement on her loss, apologizing to her fans, friends, and family, and assuring she’ll use this hiccup as an opportunity to improve. Her words:
“So so sorry about my loss you guys. Too hungry. At this level of competition you cannot make the first mistake or you pay the price. This is a big time learning experience for me. Time to move forward though. I take one look in the past and then I turn around and keep it pushin’ toward the future. Michael Jordan missed shots and even the best MMA fighters have tasted defeat at some point in their career. My character is not defined by my wins and losses nor are they contingent on the amount of love I receive from those who truly matter to me.
Mass Thank you to those who realize how much work goes into this process. It takes a village to get to the big stage and I could not be more grateful for my team who continue to help me achieve my dreams on a daily basis. You guys motivate and inspire me to continue to be great. You guys are my mentors, my heroes, my main support and without you being there for me, there would be no VenezuelanVixen.
Much respect, love and thankfulness to those who tuned in to the fight. Like the terminator says, I’ll be back”
See Julianna’s Peña’s full Facebook post below:
Were you surprised that Julianna Peña came up short against Valentina Shevchenko in Denver? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/30/2017.