Injuries are becoming more and more frequent in the MMA world. As the level of competition increases, the rate of fighters getting severely hurt in training goes up as well. Dangerous Brazilian striker, Amanda Nunes, was originally set to square off with Milana Dudieva but was injured and replaced with slugger Leslie Smith.

Then Smith injured her hand and was replaced with hard-hitting Hawaiian Raquel Pa’aluhi just a week before the fight. It takes a lot of guts and heart to accept a bout with Nunes on such short notice but maybe this will be Pa’aluhi’s shining moment on her path to bantamweight prominence.

Amanda Nunes (MMA Record: 6-2, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)

Who she is: Fighting out of Salvador, Brazil, Nunes initially caught the MMA public’s eye with a vicious 14-second knockout over Julia Budd in the Strikeforce cage a little over a year ago. Following that display of destruction, many thought Nunes to be a potential challenger to Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos but a TKO loss to Alexis Davis at 135 pounds in her following bout put a halt to that. This will be her first fight since the Davis loss.

Her strengths: Striking, vicious knockout power, underrated ground game

Her weaknesses: Fights with a wild style that leaves her open to a counter striker

Keys to victory: Nunes is an absolutely devastating striker and even though her opponent is strong on her feet too, the Brazilian should have a fairly significant edge when it comes to the standup game. So long as Nunes avoids getting too reckless she should be able to land a strike or two or multiple to put an end to her Hawaiian opponent.

Raquel Pa’aluhi (MMA Record: 2-2, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)

Who she is: Stepping in on extremely short notice to replace an injured Leslie Smith, Pa’aluhi was defeated in her last bout by Invicta FC 2 headliner Sara McMann. Nicknamed “Rocky”, Pa’aluhi hails from Wai’anae, Hawaii. Primarily a striker, Pa’aluhi has knockout power in both fists and a jaw made of steel.

Her strengths: Boxing

Her weaknesses: Wrestling, BJJ

Keys to victory: Pa’aluhi might just have the chin and the skills to stand and trade with Nunes and do some damage. It’s easy to count her out on paper but if she can successfully weather the storm and land some bombs of her own she could definitely win this fight.

The Final Verdict

This one has all of the makings of a standup war and has a very low percentage of going the distance. Pa’aluhi might not have a juiced up record but she is a very tough brawler that is not going to be afraid to stand in the pocket with Nunes and try to dish out some punishment.

Unfortunately, Nunes is a far superior striker and will ultimately be too much for the tough Hawaiian. I give credit to Pa’aluhi for taking this fight on extremely short notice but I think after the fight is over we will not see her take another short notice bout like this again.

Amanda Nunes def Raquel Pa’aluhi via Knockout Round 1