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By the terminate of the evening, it practically looked worship a precise lion could want been involved.
Following basically the most indispensable match at Saturday’s UFC 277, the Octagon at American Airlines Middle in Dallas Texas, it used to be evident from the canvas that somebody had taken a severe sever. The miserable soul used to be Julianna Pena, the bravest challenger yet to step into the Lioness’ den. Nonetheless now not like their first encounter lend a hand in December, Pena wasn’t primed to drag the shocker this time.
That’s true. “The Lioness” Amanda Nunes is UFC females’s bantamweight champion yet again. Over 25 grueling minutes, Nunes sought out, remoted and thoroughly destroyed every outmoded situation Pena uncovered—or concept she uncovered—basically the most indispensable time round.
“If the Lioness doesn’t rep her prey basically the most indispensable time, I situation the lure higher, and I do know I’ll rep it the 2nd time,” Nunes suggested broadcaster and podcaster Joe Rogan in the cage after the battle. “Now we are here to invent history again.”
Nunes took the unanimous resolution, with the three ringside judges scoring it 50-45, 50-44, 50-43. Which formulation: one, no specialize in seen Pena winning a round, two, one specialize in gave Nunes a 10-8 round in a nod to her dominance, and three, two specialize in gave her two such 10-8 rounds.
The supreme part that made this skilled used to be the uncommon toughness displayed by Pena. And we’ll rep to that.
The bout began slowly. Pena looked to push the inform with quantity nonetheless didn’t land anything else to write residence about. Nunes, who began southpaw before switching to orthodox, gentle a counter-true hook to rock Pena with about 1: 30 left. Pena despatched a true of her possess down the pipe in the round’s final seconds and narrowly won the amount battle 51-47 per UFC stats, nonetheless Nunes composed managed to procure more hurt and took the round on that foundation.
With about 40 seconds long gone in the 2nd, Nunes scored one more knockdown on a temporary counter shot. I possess it used to be ravishing to remark the Brazilian had Pena’s vary and timing down, even as she herself switched stances all thru to wait on Pena guessing.
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Nunes scored one more knockdown about 40 seconds later, nonetheless there used to be nothing brief about this one, a sweeping scuttle of energy that looked as if it would possibly perchance knock the champ into the air. In a technique, as her lend a hand hit the flooring, Pena saved her wits about her enough to flash her guard and wait on the Lioness from pouncing.
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Within the third, Pena tried to clutch things to the clinch, nonetheless Nunes wrenched free without issues. Nunes gave the look to be in a ways higher shape than for his or her first bout—which she has famously talked about she used to be underprepared for thanks to a bout with COVID, a knee hurt, complacence, and the distractions of reputation including building a brand new gym.
Nonetheless here there used to be no lingering of the stamina inform that spelled her undoing in their current bout. She hit a day out takedown at the three-minute trace of the third, followed by a long ground sequence that seen Pena bolt fishing for a triangle choke and an armbar to no avail. Nunes didn’t terminate mighty from interior Pena’s guard—that’s, till about the 1: 10 trace, when an elbow sliced open Pena along the hairline. And that’s when things began to rep messy.
Pat your self on the lend a hand in case your bingo card had Nunes, and now now not Pena, forcing the movement to the bottom. Within the opening seconds of the championship rounds, Nunes landed a double-leg takedown and saved the movement on the mat for one more extended stretch. It wasn’t worship we didn’t know Nunes could also terminate this—she did it in 2019 to steer determined of trading with world-class kickboxer Germaine de Randamie—nonetheless it surely used to be the rare pundit who seen it coming Saturday.
While you’re mindful of Pena’s public persona, it’s one who stands out for its competitiveness. And that’s saying something in the UFC. It’s worship pointing out a shark for being toothy. There had been UFC Embedded episodes this week where a slew of coaches suggested tales of her work ethic, worship her insistence on running a few seconds previous the terminate of every drill whistle.
So it wasn’t a surprise to explore her proceed to battle thru what used to be a truly grueling fourth round. An armbar came shut, nonetheless Nunes gutted her diagram out of it. After they stumbled on their diagram lend a hand to their toes, Pena’s face used to be a bloody mess. Nonetheless she stayed sport.
The fifth used to be noticeably and understandably slower, with every warring parties advance exhaustion. And yet, here used to be the Lioness, grinning manically and composed taking pictures for takedowns. At one point, the stress from a semi-severe anaconda choke try from Nunes looked as if it would possibly perchance wring blood from Pena’s sever worship a wet sponge. Perchance the extensive signature of the final seconds used to be Pena gutting her diagram out of a gnarly, hurt-to-insult Nunes neck crank.
Make no mistake: This used to be a dominant victory by Nunes. Pena won basically the most indispensable two rounds on quantity, nonetheless Nunes won all 5 in pure hurt. She furthermore hit on 6-of-8 takedowns to Pena’s 0-of-0, racking up a blended 11: 49 of wait on a watch on time. That is now now not a misprint. Pena had now now not one 2nd of wait on a watch on time, now now not even in the clinch.
The hurt to Pena’s noggin used to be severe enough that it required now now not handiest a day out to the hospital nonetheless an emergency session with a plastic surgeon, in accordance to UFC President Dana White (h/t Marc Raimondi of ESPN).
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So, certain, while Pena is clearly Nunes’ most attention-grabbing opponent up to now, there’s composed handiest one GOAT here. GSP-Matt Serra didn’t desire a rubber match. Am I saying Pena-Nunes 3 ought to composed by no formulation happen? Needless to claim now now not. Nonetheless perchance Pena could also beat somebody else before leaping lend a hand in. Right here’s a in particular enticing proposition when recalling that one Valentina Shevchenko could be ready in the wings.
As for Nunes, she’s taking her time.
“Let me take a seat down, let me bolt lend a hand to Brazil,” she suggested Rogan. “I haven’t seen my household there for three years. Thanks to the epidemic. So I stayed here, I centered on getting the belt lend a hand. Now I in reality accept as true with a extensive gamble to switch lend a hand and explore my household. Let the Lioness rest rather of bit, and I’ll advance lend a hand as soon as that you must to be in a position to think.”
Alongside with her loss avenged and basically the most indispensable jewel of her crown restored, the Lioness can upright playing being a GOAT for a while again.