Sunday, August 7, 2022

Nunes dominates Pena at UFC 277 to reclaim the bantamweight title

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Amanda Nunes restored her status as UFC doubleweight champion on Saturday night, dominating Julianna Pena to regain the women’s bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 277.

Pena submitted Nunes in December to win the belt from the Brazilian, who also holds the UFC women’s featherweight title, in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history.

However, Nunes got everything right that concerned her on Saturday, dominating a brave, resilient Pena to earn a unanimous victory (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) over the American to reclaim the bantamweight gold .

Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest female fighter MMA has ever seen, but she quickly tired in a humiliating performance against Pena in December. However, the 34-year-old was much more recognizable in her performance this weekend, dropping Pena multiple times and defeating the champion at will in Dallas, Texas.

Nunes, fighting from a left-handed stance at American Airlines Center, dropped the 32-year-old Pena to a knee twice in the first round before scoring three knockdowns in round 2. The second of those three was the most significant, Nunes clipping Pena with a powerful right lead hook from the southpaw sending her to the canvas.

In the remaining five rounds, Nunes easily defeated Pena, landing heavy punches from above – particularly cuts to the elbows that caused a severe cut along Pena’s hairline – while the American attempted to throw up submissions in response.

Pena tried armbars, triangle chokes, omoplatas, and a kimura, but she couldn’t lock in any of the holds. While Nunes occasionally opted to let Pena stand, the Brazilian also worked effectively from defence, eventually leading to victory.

In the co-main event, Brandon Moreno won the men’s interim flyweight title by stopping Kai Kara-France in the third round of their rematch.

Moreno surpassed Kara-France in 2019 amid an unbeaten run for the Mexican that led him to win the flyweight belt last year. Moreno, who drew against Deiveson Figueiredo in a title match in 2020, subdued the Brazilian in his second duel to become the undisputed champion before losing the gold on points to Figueiredo this January.

Moreno now looks poised for a fourth in-ring meeting with Figueiredo in what would be the first time in UFC history that two fighters have fought each other four times under the promotion banner.

Kara-France had impressed in two close rounds against Moreno on Saturday and the New Zealander seemed to have picked up the momentum in Round 3 until Moreno dropped him with a devastating kick to the liver. Moreno then forced the stoppage by throwing punches at a prone Kara-France.

Complete results

main card

Amanda Nunes defeated. Julianna Pena by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43)

Brandon Moreno defeated. Kai Kara-France via third-round TKO (kick, punches; 4:34)

Sergei Pavlovich defeated. Derrick Lewis via TKO in the first round (punches, 0:55)

Alexandre Pantoja defeated. Alex Perez on First Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke, 1:31)

Defeated Magomed Ankalaev. Anthony Smith via second-round TKO (punches, 3:09)

front matter

Alex Morono defeated. Matthäus Semelsberger by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Defeated Drew Dober. Rafael Alves via third round KO (Body Punch, 1:30)

Hamdy Abdelwahab defeated. Don’Tale Mayes by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Defeated Drakkar Klose. Rafa Garcia by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Early Heats

Defeated Michael Morales. Adam Fugitt via third-round TKO (punches, 1:09)

Joselyne Edwards defeated. Ji Yeon Kim by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Nicolae Negumereanu defeated. Ihor Potieria via TKO in the second round (punches, 3:33)

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