UFC champ Valentina Shevchenko picks Cris Cyborg over Amanda Nunes: Huge cardio advantage

Newly minted UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko trains with Cris Cyborg. Let’s get that out of the way first.

Of course, Shevchenko is a little biased if you’re asking for her opinion of Cyborg’s (20-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) upcoming superfight with bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes (16-4 MMA, 9-1 UFC) at UFC 232. But MMAjunkie Radio asked her nonetheless, and she said cardio is the thing that separates the two champions.

“Cris has an advantage in her endurance – a very huge advantage, because she’s training like a fanatic,” Shevchenko said. “And most important, she’s not tiring.

“In the morning, she runs marathons, and after marathons, she comes to training and does her work hitting pads and sparring. She doesn’t get tired. She has the power to move forward. So in this fight, I will support Cris.”

Cyborg attempts her third defense of the featherweight belt when she meets Nunes on Dec. 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event’s main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Another similarly biased source, Nunes’ partner Nina Ansaroff, recently told reporters she would “put the house” on Nunes beating Cyborg when they squared off.

If betting odds are any indication, MMA fans clearly give Nunes a better shot at upsetting Cyborg than previous opponents. Cyborg currently is a -300 favorite, while the majority of lines have Nunes around +200 as an underdog. That’s a considerable difference from the -1000 favorite Cyborg was in advance of a fight against Invicta FC bantamweight champ Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222.

Cyborg recently told reporters she will make Nunes pay for delaying their superfight after the two camps tussled over scheduling.

Not surprisingly, Cyborg herself touts her cardio as her best advantage in the fight.

“I have five rounds,” she said. “I watched a couple fights of Amanda and I know she likes to do the pressure, but she don’t like when fighters put pressure on her. I’m the pressure. When she throws her best punch at me, I’m going to be the pressure. She’s going to feel that.”

For more on UFC 232, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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