DALLAS – Amanda Nunes won a five-round unanimous decision over Julianna Peña in the main event of UFC 277 on Saturday night to regain the women’s bantamweight championship she lost last December.
Nunes (22-5), nicknamed “The Lioness”, also holds the featherweight belt. The judges’ score was 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.
“I’m double champion again, baby!” Nunes yelled at the crowd after the fight. “This is the best day ever.”
Peña beat Nunes last December in Las Vegas to claim the title in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
Saturday’s fight was the first title defense for Peña (12-5) in the 135-pound division.
Brandon Moreno won the co-main event with a third-round TKO over Kai Kara-France in a scheduled five-round bout to take possession of the interim men’s flyweight championship belt.
Nunes dropped Peña three times in the second round, twice with right hooks and then with a left to the forehead.
Nunes knocked Peña down midway through the third round and kept her on the mat, striking her head to open cuts along Peña’s hairline that left blood spattered on the mat.
Nunes again had Peña on his back for much of the fourth and fifth round. Peña’s face was smeared with blood that stained much of the carpet.
“I could have finished her, but I wanted to go five rounds with her tonight to prove that I was better than her,” said Nunes, his right eye swollen shut, using crutches to get to the interview session. “It could have been six, seven rounds.”
Nunes came out and added a lefty stance to his normal righty stance. She thinks she confused Peña.
UFC president Dana White said Peña was taken from the arena after the fight to see a plastic surgeon for damage to her forehead.
“Julianna is tough as nails,” White said. “His will to win is second to none.”
Nunes had owned the bantamweight belt for more than five years before the loss in December, which snapped a 12-fight winning streak that included nine consecutive title fights.
Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight between Moreno and Kara-France at 4:34 after Moreno, who was sporting a deep cut under his right eye with blood streaming down his face and chest, delivered a jab to the liver that dropped the Kara France. Moreno finished it then.
Moreno (20-6-2), from Tijuana (Mexico), entered as the top contender in the division and Kara-France (24-10), from New Zealand, was second. Moreno was supported by a crowd that chanted “Mo-re-no!” and “Me-xi-co!” sometimes during the game.
Deiveson Figueiredo regained the flyweight belt from Moreno last January with a unanimous decision in a trilogy fight in the 125-pound division. But Figueiredo suffered a hand injury several months ago and was unable to defend the title, prompting the UFC to create an interim title fight.
After Saturday’s fight, Figueiredo entered the octagon carrying his championship belt and met Moreno. Figueiredo said he would like to welcome Moreno to his native Brazil for the undisputed title.
“I don’t care (where),” Moreno said. “Let’s go.”
Moreno said he would tell Figueiredo he didn’t like his entry into the cage but didn’t want to set a bad example for his 8-year-old daughter.
Sergei Pavlovich was TKOed in 55 seconds in a scheduled three-round heavyweight bout against Derrick Lewis, the oldest fighter on the card at 37 and a Houston fan favorite. Pavlovich landed a series of blows to Lewis’ head and upper body. Lewis eventually went down, but jumped back up when referee Dan Miragliotta stopped him, as Lewis and the crowd expressed their displeasure with the decision.
White said the fight should not be stopped.
“Miragliotta made a mistake,” White said. “It happens.”
Pavlovich (16-1) came in 11th while Lewis (26-10) was fifth.
Alexandre Pantoja quickly finished Alex Perez on a tap just 1:31 into their scheduled three-round men’s flyweight bout. Pantoja (25-5), No. 4, got on top of Perez (24-7), No. 6, along the fence and locked his arms around Perez’s jaw to force the submission.
Magomed Ankalaev scored a TKO at 3:09 of the second of three rounds over Anthony Smith in a men’s light heavyweight bout. Ankalaev (18-1), No. 4, knocked out Smith (36-17), No. 5, in the first round and then slammed him along the base of the fence early in the second round when referee Jacob Montalvo stopped the fight. Smith injured his left leg and was helped out of the cage, but White said there was no fracture.
Amanda Nunes beats Julianna Peña to regain women’s bantamweight belt – Press Telegram Source link Amanda Nunes beats Julianna Peña to regain women’s bantamweight belt – Press Telegram