The top of the UFC 277 billing was graced with former bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, reclaiming her belt with a dominant unanimous decision in a rematch with the woman that took the title from her, Julianna Pena.
Nunes scored several knockdowns, gained several takedowns, avoided a bunch of submission attempts, and did plenty of damage with ground strikes. All the credit in the world to Pena for showing off tremendous heart and grit, but Nunes was imposing her will in every single round. The double champ is back! Do we need to see a trilogy bout?
Nunes didn’t start as hot as she did in the first fight, taking a more calculated approach here. Pena was working her right hand as she took the center of the Octagon. Then, as Pena tried to close the distance, a check hook from Nunes briefly dropped her. It wasn’t long before the same exact thing happened, by the same exact punch. The former champ was also chewing up the lead leg of Pena, causing some redness on the calf. Pena kept throwing, and landing, her right hand, and didn’t seem discouraged in the least bit.
About 30-seconds into the second round, Nunes connected again with her right hand and dropped Pena. She allowed Pena to stand up, just for Juliana to rush in and get dropped once again. Showing off tremendous heart, Pena kept swinging back and was even connecting at times. It wasn’t long before Amanda connected with another shot that caused another knockdown. Somehow Pena had the resilience to keep getting up.
Pena was trying to clinch up in the third frame, but Nunes did a great job of quickly exiting close quarters. Pena connected with a flurry, and Nunes responded with a takedown. From her back, Pena was looking for subs, while Nunes was trying to score elbows. One of those bows caused a cut on the scalp of Juliana, and this was another strong round for Nunes.
Nunes went right to the takedown to open up the fourth act. Pena snuck in an armbar attempt, and it seemed to be pretty tight, but Nunes made all the right moves to escape. Pena scrambled her way back to her feet, but Nunes went right back to the takedown. This time, Nunes stood up on her own, and allowed Pena to stand up. The Lioness went right back to her takedown to finish the round on top.
The final round began with an almost instant takedown from Nunes. Pena was still throwing up submission attempts, but Nunes was hip to them all and avoided them. They stood back up, just for Nunes to get yet another takedown.
Amanda Nunes def. Juliana Pena by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43): Bantamweight Title
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