Octagon Oracles: Josiane ‘Josi’ Nunes

Josiane Nunes gets her arm raised in an MMA cage. Josiane Nunes will get her first UFC fight this weekend. Photo Credit: William Spol / Youtube

UFC will welcome a new bantamweight on Saturday night. Josiane Nunes will step into the octagon for the first time when facing undefeated prospect Bea Malecki. Nunes is entering the promotion on a six-fight winning streak.

Nunes doesn’t come to the UFC from a notable feeder promotion or with notable wins. Instead, most of her wins have happened at small regional shows in Brazil. This element of unknown brought an interesting angle to Octagon Oracles this week. As we introduced ourselves to Nunes for the first time, we assessed her skill and predicted her future.

Zac Herbison

Grade: D
At her best, Nunes is a brawler with surprisingly good shot selection. She appears to be very strong, and can break opponents down with her 1-2s and kicks to the legs and body. In the pocket, she throws brutal hooks and knees, and is good about mixing up her punches to the head and body. Her hands have been too heavy for her opponents thus far to handle – her fights often end with her unloading on an opponent who’s cowering in the corner. She’s shown some talent and agility on the ground, but shows very little interest in getting there, and seems to depend on guillotines as takedown defense.

Thus far, Nunes has been able to rely on her offense to shut her opponents down. She’s shown very little attempt at defending herself from shots, instead prioritizing hitting her opponent back harder. This is a red flag, especially because she stands at about 5’2″, leaving her roughly half a foot shorter than the average UFC bantamweight. She’s going to spend a lot of time at a range where her opponent can hit her, but she can’t hit back. She also hasn’t shown herself to be especially talented at closing distance. She often either jumps in with a knee, or runs in with her hands cocked to throw hooks. She’ll always be dangerous against lower-level competition, but without learning to respect her opponents power, or finding some better pocket entries, I don’t see her having a future in the UFC.

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Kristen King

Grade: C-
We can start by getting Nunes’ best attribute out of the way and that is her striking. She hits hard and is constantly coming forward until she gets a finish. Most of her professional wins have come by knockout, so there is obviously no secret in what she is going for whenever she steps inside of a cage. However, there is a glaring hole in Nunes’ game and that is her seemingly nonexistent wrestling and grappling. She is quite easy to take and keep down, so any decent wrestler would pose a threat to her. The reliance on her hands has served Nunes well thus far, but there will come a time where she has to go up against someone that can and will dominate her on the ground. Unless she is matched up against strikers, I am not sure her UFC tenure lasts very long.

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Jack Wannan

Grade: C
You don’t even have to watch Nunes’ fights to understand where her strengths are (though I assure you I did watch fights for this assignment). Her Tapology page lists her past four appearances as stoppage victories in one-or-two rounds. Before then, her wins don’t list how they came. It is quite possible that some of those victories were also finishes.

Nunes’ powerful and accurate striking is clearly why she is on a win streak currently. Despite this power, I have some concern about how this ability can hold up against stronger talent. Many of her wins came against low-level opponents, and on tape it is clear that some never had an answer for her boxing.

Also, there is good reason to worry about how Nunes will fare against a good grappler. While Nunes was able to score a finish win against her last opponent, Dione Barbosa, earlier minutes in the fight saw Nunes struggle with grappling. She was put on her back with ease and didn’t have much of an answer for attacks on the ground. That could, nay, will be a problem in the UFC.

I’m not big on Nunes at the moment. Once we see her against UFC-level talent we will get a good idea of what her skill level is like and how she will fare.

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