UFC: Amanda Nunes dominates Julianna Pena to regain title
DALLAS — After slipping for the first time in seven years, Amanda Nunes reminded everyone why she is widely considered the greatest women’s mixed martial artist of all-time.
In the main event of Saturday night’s UFC 277 in Dallas, Nunes dominated Julianna Pena to regain the bantamweight title she lost to the Chicagoan in December at UFC 269.
Brazil’s Nunes (22-5), who won for the 13th time in her past 14 fights, is also the reigning featherweight champion, making her the first fighter in UFC history to return to double-title status after losing a title.
She dominated Pena for 25 minutes and earned a unanimous decision on scores of 50-45, 50-44, 50-43.
“I had a bad night, but I know I was going to come back,” Nunes said about her loss seven months ago. “I am ‘The Lioness.’ I knew I would come back and now I am the champ again.”
Nunes displayed crisp striking from the jump, especially in a dominant second round in which she scored three knockdowns.
Each time, she refused to follow Pena (12-4) to the mat. By the third, she flipped her strategy and scored takedown after takedown and then controlled the bout with her grappling.
The evening’s co-feature bout ended with a swift finish that electrified the crowd.
Tijuana’s Brandon Moreno (20-6-2) was the favorite of a heavily Hispanic crowd in his bout with New Zealand’s Kai Kara-France. And he rewarded their frequent “Mexico” chants with a third-round TKO to claim an interim flyweight championship.
After a methodical first two rounds, Kara-France (24-10) opened a cut under Moreno’s right eye and appeared to be turning the fight in his favor. But Moreno drilled him with a devastating kick to the ribs that dropped him, then rained down punches until the fight was waved off at the 4:34 mark of the third.
The interim title was created because current titleholder Deiveson Figueiredo was unable to make the date as he recovered from hand and knee injuries. Figueiredo and Moreno have fought three times and each has gone 1-1-1, with both claiming the title in their wins.
Figueiredo was brought into the cage and they exchanged words to set up their fourth fight.
“I don’t hate you,” said Moreno, who is 5-1-1 in his past seven. “I want to fight against you in December. Let’s go in December.”
–Field Level Media