Posted January 29, 2015 by Sydnie Jones in News

Julianna Pena returns after 17 months to face Milana Dudieva at UFC Fight Night: Fairfax

julianna milana

Julianna Pena vs. Milana Dudieva

Julianna Pena (5-2), winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter to feature women, makes her way back to the Octagon on April 4th. Pena returns after what will then be a 17-month hiatus due to a severe knee injury. She fights Milana Dudieva (11-3) on the Fight Night: Fairfax card, headlined by Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas. The card also features a bout between Liz Carmouche and Lauren Murphy.

Pena was a surprise in the TUF house, a relative unknown who qualified after two straight losses in her professional career. Pena gained entrance to the house following a unanimous decision after two rounds with Gina Mazany, and was Miesha Tate’s first pick for her team. Ronda Rousey paired Pena with Shayna Baszler, with the apparent expectation of knocking Tate’s friend and top pick out of the running. The tactic backfired when Pena caught Bazler in a rear naked choke in round two, to the surprise and dismay of many.

Pena then faced Sarah Moras in the semi-finals, submitting her with a guillotine choke in the second round. At the live finale on November 30th, 2013, Pena won via TKO of Jessica Rakoczy at 4:59 of the first round. But at the end of January 2014, Pena suffered multiple tears of the ligaments in her knee from an accident during training, and has been out ever since. Initially, Pena said she might be out as long as two years.

Dudieva debuted against Elizabeth Phillips (4-3) on the Macau card in August of 2014, taking a split decision win. In Dudieva’s 11 wins, the majority of them have come from submissions, such as this heel hook of Daria Chibisova in April.

Check out Pena’s post-TUF-victory interview, including the final seconds of the fight.

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