Julianna Peña Set To Face Milana Dudieva At UFC Fight Night 63TUF 18 winner Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña is set to make her long-awaited return to the Octagon on April 4th at UFC Fight Night 63: “Mendes vs Lamas” in Fairfax, Virginia. Peña takes on Russian standout Milana Dudieva in a featured bantamweight matchup on the card.

ESPN first reported on the bout earlier today. Peña has been sidelined for more than a year after suffering the third serious knee injury of her career. She became the first female winner of The Ultimate Fighter in November 2013. Dudieva won her August UFC debut by defeating Elizabeth Phillips.

Peña (5-2-0) kicked off her pro career with three straight victories in 2009 before a torn ACL forced her to the sidelines. During recovery, Peña re-tore the ACL and she sat out for more than two full years before returning to the cage with a second-round submission win in late 2011. Peña’s next two fights, including a flyweight bout against DeAnna “The Argentine Assassin” Bennett, both ended in defeats, but she won four straight fights during TUF 18 to become the show’s first female winner. This past January, Peña sustained another gruesome knee injury in training, but she is now fully healed and ready to resume her climb towards a UFC title shot.

Dudieva (11-3-0) also turned pro in 2009 and fought five times before the end of the year, winning four in a row after dropping her debut to the much more experienced Julia Berezikova. She became a mainstay of the ProFC promotion in Russia and extended her winning streak to eight with key wins over UFC veteran Sheila “The German Tank” Gaff and Danielle “The Honey Badger” West. Dudieva was expected to make her UFC debut in 2013, but back-to-back losses to Jéssica “Bate Estaca” Andrade and Pannie “Banzai” Kianzad delayed her journey to the Octagon. She bounced back with a pair of quick wins and narrowly edged out Phillips at UFC Fight Night 48.

UFC Fight Night 63: “Mendes vs Lamas” takes place on April 4th at Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The event is headlined by a featherweight contender’s bout between Chad “Money” Mendes and Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas, and also features a second women’s matchup between Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche and former Invicta FC champion Lauren Murphy.



(Photo Credit: UFC)

  1. Mmm… Milana will have some clear size advantage here. Interesting to see how this one plays out.