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Amanda Lemos expected Nina Nunes to withdraw from UFC Vegas 45: ‘I knew she would back out’

Amanda Lemos (left) will fight Angela Hill at the UFC APEX this Saturday
Chris Unger, Zuffa LLC

Amanda Lemos predicted she wouldn’t meet Nina Nunes inside the octagon after all.

The heavy-hitting strawweight was paired against the top-ranked American Top Team product for the final card of the year on Dec. 18, but will face Angela Hill instead at UFC Vegas 45 after Nunes withdrew for undisclosed reasons.

Speaking with MMA Fighting ahead of the card, Lemos said she saw it coming.

“The day before they changed [the opponent], I was talking to my coaches and said, ‘Imagine if she gets hurt or invents an injury?’” Lemos said. “Wallid [Ismail] called me the next day saying she got injured. I had that in my head, I don’t know why. I kind of expected it, I knew she would back out.

“I really don’t know if she got hurt or just gave up on the fight. Maybe [she ran away], maybe she got hurt, maybe she didn’t want the fight. I don’t choose opponents, I’ll just trade hands with whoever.”

Lemos won her last four in the UFC with a trio of first-round stoppages, while Nunes was looking to snap a two-fight skid. Hill, who steps in on less than two months’ notice, lost a decision to Tecia Torres in her most recent appearance in August.

The Brazilian is not against the idea of getting re-booked against Nunes, but also likes a matchup with Yan Xiaonan.

“If the UFC puts us to fight, we’ll fight — if she doesn’t get injured this time, right?” Lemos said of Nunes. “I hope [she shows up next time]. I think it’s an interesting fight, just like Angela.”

“I’d also like to fight Yan,” she added. “We’ve trained together before in the United States and I’ve seen how much she’s evolved, and I think it would be an incredible fight.”

Lemos said “the strategy didn’t change much because Angela doesn’t stop, she’s always moving, in and out,” and the outcome will be the same.

“I haven’t looked up yet if she has been knocked out before,” Lemos said. “No? Yeah, it’s going to be a first for her.”

A woman of few words, Lemos just wants to go out and collect more victories until she’s at the top of the 125-pound class.

“I think that some girls are [pure hype] and don’t show much inside the octagon,” said the former Jungle Fight champion, who has gone 4-0 as a strawweight in the UFC. “I’m not like that. I want to show my work in there and the rest is consequence. Some people are pure hype, pure media, but I’m conquering my space and showing my work, and it won’t be different this time.”