Amanda Nunes Defeats Julianna Peña to Reclaim UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title

It’s a case of sweet revenge for Amanda Nunes

The 34-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist defeated Julianna Peña via a dominant unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-43) in the main event of UFC 277 on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

Amanda NunesNunes had vowed to make changes in her game and get her belt back after shockingly losing it seven months ago to Peña.

With the victory, Nunes, the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history, reclaimed the UFC women’s bantamweight title she lost to Peña at UFC 269 in December.

“The lioness, if they don’t get the prey the first time, I set the trap and I know I’d get it the second time,” Nunes said in her postfight interview.

Nunes said this fight was all about “strategy” and that the key was her going southpaw. Then, when Peña got comfortable on the feet, Nunes said she started to go for the takedowns.

“The main thing was my southpaw,” Nunes said. “I know I was gonna catch her with that tonight. I knew she was not gonna be able to adjust to that. She’s not a striker. … She was so confused. I’m not very good yet with my southpaw. I told my coach, ‘I’m gonna see how I feel.’ I tried tonight, and I felt good.”

Nunes dropped Peña with a check right hook out of the southpaw stance several times in the early rounds. As the fight wore on, Nunes began using her wrestling to take Peña down over and over, then cut her up from top position with slicing elbows.

Peña had several bad cuts on her face after the fourth round. Nunes nearly had a rear-naked choke finish in the fifth, but Peña was incredibly tough and fought it off.

Nunes had moments where she might have been able to finish the fight but perhaps didn’t want to make the mistake she did in the first fight, where she got tired after trying to finish Peña in the first round.

“Julianna is tough as nails,” UFC president Dana White said. “Her will to win is second to none. She wanted to win. As dominant as Amanda was, and she was dominant tonight — I don’t think it was close in any way, shape or form; I thought it was a complete shutout — she still looked a little gun shy to me.

“She had Julianna hurt many times, had her on crazy legs many times and never really went in for the kill.”

After the first fight, Nunes left her longtime gym, American Top Team, and moved into a private facility she has dubbed Lioness Studio. She trained under coach Roger Krahl, who was in her corner for some of her biggest fights, like the knockout of Ronda Rousey.

“The best thing I did was make my gym,” Nunes said. “In my gym, I feel like I’m safe. I feel like I can grow and evolve.”

In the second round, Nunes knocked Peña down three times, setting the record for most knockdowns in a round ever among women in the UFC, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Overall, Nunes outlanded Peña 85-60 in significant strikes and took Peña down six times in eight attempts.

Nunes’ 15 UFC wins is the most among women in UFC history. This was her 10th title fight win, the most among women in UFC history and fifth best overall. Nunes is the first woman in the UFC to regain the bantamweight title after losing it.

Saturday’s fight was the 13th immediate rematch ever in the UFC after one fighter took the belt from another. Saturday marked just the third time in those instances that a fighter reclaimed the title. Randy Couture did it against Vitor Belfort in 2004 and Deiveson Figueiredo did it this past January over Brandon Moreno.

Judges Douglas Crosby and Sal D’Amato each scored the second round 10-8 for Nunes, while Crosby also scored the fifth 10-8 for Nunes. The other judge, Jacob Montalvo, did not score a 10-8 in any round.

Coming in, ESPN had Nunes ranked No. 2 and Peña ranked No. 4 on its pound-for-pound women’s MMA list. At bantamweight, Peña was No. 1 and Nunes was No. 2.

Nunes (22-5) was on a 12-fight winning streak before losing to Peña, with wins during that stretch over the likes of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate and Holly Holm. The Brazilian slugger, who trains out of South Florida, is also the UFC women’s featherweight champion.

Nunes, 34, is the first UFC fighter to defend two titles in separate weight classes concurrently — and has seven title.

Juan Francisco Estrada Edges Past Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez to Win WBA, WBC and The Ring Magazine Junior Bantamweight Titles

Juan Francisco Estrada has proved that revenge is a dish best served cold.

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer edged past Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez by split decision in an extremely close fight at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on Saturday to win the WBA, the WBC and The Ring magazine junior bantamweight titles.

Juan Francisco Estrada x Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

The victory comes eight years after Estrada (42-3, 28 KOs) and Gonzalez’s first action-packed bout, which was won by Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KOs).

This bout could’ve gone either way. The two combined for 2,529 punches — a junior bantamweight record — and landed 705, according to CompuBox. They combined for 2,133 punches in their first bout.

The scorecards Saturday night read 115-113 Gonzalez, 117-111 Estrada and 115-113 Estrada. The 117-111 score was shockingly wide, but the two 115-113 scores were representative of a fight with two boxers putting on a nonstop show.

Immediately afterward, sensing there was unfinished business with their rivalry split at 1-1, Estrada called for a trilogy fight to settle it all.

“I think I did enough to win. Chocolatito is a great fighter, and I think he deserves a trilogy,” Estrada said on the DAZN broadcast. “I knew it was a close fight. I didn’t know if I was up or down, but I knew I had to close out the fight in the last two rounds.”

Gonzalez was gracious and emotional in defeat, saying, “Whatever happened, happened, but I gave it a great fight.” The four-division champion said the result was what “God wanted” and that he would welcome a third bout with Estrada.

“It was a better fight than the first one,” Estrada said. “I felt strong, and I felt like I won. In the last round, I gave it all. It was a great round.”

Estrada’s win could set in motion the conclusion of a set of trilogies. Estrada noted after the fight that his mandatory challenger is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai — a man he also has split two bouts with over the past few years. Rungvisai won the first bout by majority decision in February 2018, with Estrada winning the rematch by unanimous decision in April 2019.

Rungvisai, who also has two wins over Gonzalez, stepped aside to let Estrada-Gonzalez 2 happen. Now, Rungvisai will likely want his shot at settling the trilogy fight with Estrada.

Gonzalez, who despite starting a bit slow was the aggressor for much of the fight, had the advantage over Estrada in every CompuBox category Saturday night except body punching (89-31 Estrada). The 90 power punches landed in Round 12 (51 by Gonzalez, 39 by Estrada) is a single-round junior bantamweight record, per CompuBox.

The hope is that Part 3 of this must-see thriller happens far sooner than the eight-year wait for Part 2.

Ryan Garcia Survives First Career Knockdown to Claim TKO Victory Over Luke Campbell

Ryan Garcia is living up to the hype…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer survived an early knockdown to notch a stunning, seventh-round, TKO victory over Luke Campbell on Saturday night.

Ryan Garcia

In front of roughly 6,000 fans at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Garcia won the interim WBC lightweight title with a left hook to the body that sent Campbell to his knees. Campbell attempted to get to his feet by the end of the count, but referee Laurence Cole waved the fight off to give Garcia the TKO win.

For most of his career, Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) has been known for a social media following that has overshadowed his ring credentials. With the victory, he said he showed he was more than an internet sensation.

“You’re not who people tell you [you] are,” Garcia said in his postfight interview on DAZN. “You’re who you choose to be. And I chose to be a champion tonight. I wasn’t going to let nothing stop me.”

Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs), a former title challenger and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was billed as the toughest test of Garcia’s young career, and the British boxer lived up to that.

In the second round, Campbell dropped Garcia with a looping left hook that caught him on the chin. Garcia said it was the first time he had been knocked down in his career.

“I think I got a little too excited over the moment,” said Garcia, who was carried into the ring seated on a throne while wearing a gold crown.

But “King Ry” responded in the third round, regaining his bearings and nearly ending the fight in the fifth. Garcia hit Campbell with a left hook at the bell that sent Campbell staggering into the ropes. Two rounds later, Garcia picked up the most significant win of his career.

Campbell had never been stopped in his pro career, even in title fights against Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jorge Linares. Garcia and Campbell both noted that following Saturday’s bout.

“That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with,” Campbell said. “I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back, and when you move back, my body relaxed a little bit, and that’s the exact time he hit me.”

Garcia added, “I showed today that I’m special.”

Campbell agreed with that, saying of Garcia in a tweet afterward, “Well done and a massive future ahead for him. I wish him all the best.”

Garcia joined the ranks of young, promising fighters in the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, 23, won three of the four belts in the 135-pound division when he beat Lomachenko in October 2019. Devin Haney, 22, holds the WBC‘s top belt.

But the fighter Garcia said he wants the most is Gervonta “Tank” Davis, 26, who holds one of the WBA’s secondary belts and is coming off an impressive knockout victory over Leo Santa Cruz in October.

“I really want to be a man of my word,” Garcia said. “I really want to fight Tank. I know people are worried about it [happening], but I’m ready for it.”

Roger Gutierrez Shocks Rene Alvarado in Revenge Win to Claim WBA Belt

Roger Gutierrez gets revenge while claiming a WBA belt…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan boxer dropped Rene Alvarado in Round 12 to secure a narrow but unanimous decision victory to win the WBA “regular” junior lightweight title at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday.

Roger Gutierrez

After seeing his twin brother, Felix Alvarado, score a 10th-round stoppage win to retain his IBF junior flyweight world title earlier on the card, Rene Alvarado went on to lose the title in his first defense by scores of 113-112 on all three scorecards.

Gutierrez — who dedicated the victory to his mother, who died of cancer two months ago — dropped Alvarado three times and, crucially, won the last round.

Alvarado (32-9, 21 KOs), 31, of Nicaragua, was almost stopped in the third round but recovered from two knockdowns to control most of the fight.

Gutierrez (24-3-1, 20 KOs) avenged a seventh-round stoppage loss to Alvarado in 2017, when his corner threw in the towel after he suffered a bad cut.

Alvarado could not stay upright in the third round when Gutierrez released a sweet right uppercut to the jaw. Alvarado took the count but was on unsteady feet, and Gutierrez capitalized to drop him for a second time with a straight right that sent the Nicaraguan crashing backward.

A left hand to the temple wobbled Alvarado again, but he recovered and went on the attack in the fifth, and cut Gutierrez badly around the left eye. The fight then seemed to drift away from Gutierrez as Alvarado forced the pace in the second half, until the last round, when Gutierrez dropped Alvarado for a third count with a glancing left hook to the chin.

Felix Alvarado Defeats DeeJay Kriel to Defend IBF World Light Flyweight Title

It’s a U.S. debut to remember for Felix Alvarado

The 31-year-old Nicaraguan boxer, making his American debut, scored two knockdowns in a 10th-round stoppage win over DeeJay Kriel to defend his IBF world light flyweight title at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday.

Felix Alvarado

After not boxing at all in 2020, Alvarado — the twin brother of Rene Alvarado — showed that his power marks him out as one of the world’s best at 108 pounds in his second world title defense.

Alvarado (36-2, 31 KOs) served warning with a fast start, and then floored Kriel (15-2-1, 8 KOs), 25, with a left hook that landed flush on the chin in the second round. Kriel admirably survived a torrid minute and a half until the end of the second round, taking a big right hand to the chin in the process.

Alvarado landed an array of shots in the fourth round and deposited the South African on the canvas again with a left hook. But Kriel, a former strawweight titlist and a quality operator, gamely came back firing with fast hands.

Kriel narrowed the points margin in the middle rounds, but he was almost overwhelmed at the end of Round 9 as Alvarado increased the pressure. Alvarado sustained his attack in the 10th round and it was enough to force a stoppage after 1 minute and 39 seconds as he landed a series of unanswered punches.

“I knew this would be a tough fight,” Alvarado said after the bout. “He was a mandatory challenger and a former world champion, so I knew it would be tough. I got a bit tired, but that was because of his experience. I also dropped him with a hook, and I didn’t even expect for a punch like that to land. But rather than keep looking for that punch, I kept pushing him to the ropes to wear him down.

“I want any of the other world champions so I can show who is the best in the division.”

Sean Garcia Defeats Rene Marquez to Remain Undefeated

Sean Garcia remains undefeated…

The 20-year-old Mexican American lightweight boxer, Ryan Garcia‘s younger brother, stayed unbeaten with a hard-fought majority decision victory over Rene Marquez at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday.

Sean Garcia

Garcia won the bout by scores of 38-38, 39-37 and 39-37.

Garcia (5-0, 2 KOs), had a more difficult time than anticipated against Marquez (5-5, 2 KOs). Marquez kept coming forward, landing body punches and throwing his right hand every time he had Garcia close. Garcia, 20, was able to land more punches in Round 3, but finished the fight fatigued — a product of Marquez’s body attack.

According to CompuBox data, Garcia landed 48 of 161 total punches, while Marquez, 31, was able to land only 30 of 185. Garcia also connected on 43 of his power punches, while Marquez landed only 22.

Coronel to Appear at Pitbull’s Bad Man Tour Stop in Dallas

Luis Coronel is one Bad Man

The 20-year-old Mexican-American singer will join Pitbull, Prince Royce and Farruko during their show in Dallas on Friday as part of their Bad Man Tour.

Luis Coronel

Coronel, a Premios Lo Nuestro and Premios Juventud winner, confirmed his special participation during the stop on social media platforms saying, “This Friday, I am going to party.”

The concert will be taking place at the American Airlines Center at 7:00 pm.

Prince Royce to Serve as Special Guest on Ariana Grande’s “The Honeymoon Tour”

Prince Royce has landed a grande gig…

The 25-year-old Dominican-America singer-songwriter will appear as the special guest on Ariana Grande’s recently extended The Honeymoon Tour beginning this summer.

Prince Royce

Grande’s tour, produced and promoted by Live Nation, kicked off February 25 and will play through April 16 in Vancouver.

The summer tour dates, featuring Prince Royce, will kick off July 16 at Amalie Arena in Tampa and will end October 15 at El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, Texas. Stops include Staples Center in Los Angeles, BB&T Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Verizon Cetner in Washington DC and American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Prince Royce is close to releasing his English-language debut album after becoming one of the most successful new Latin acts in the market. Royce broke the top 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his first English-language single, “Stuck on a Feeling,” featuring Snoop Dogg.

Tickets will go on sale April 4 at www.livenation.com; all dates, cities and venues below subject to change.

Thursday, July 16 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
Saturday, July 18 Ft Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
Tuesday, July 21 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
Thursday, July 23 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
Saturday, July 25 Washington, DC Verizon Center
Sunday, July 26 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
Wednesday, July 29 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
Friday, July 31 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Sunday, August 2 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Tuesday, August 4 Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena
Thursday, August 6 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
Friday, August 7 Ottawa, ON Canadian Tire Centre
Sunday, August 9 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Saturday, August 29 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
Monday, August 31 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center
Wednesday, September 2 Boise, ID Taco Bell Arena
Friday, September 4 Portland, OR Moda Center
Sunday, September 6 Sacramento, CA Sleep Train Arena
Tuesday, September 8 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
Wednesday, September 9 Chula Vista, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Friday, September 11 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
Friday, September 18 Houston, TX Toyota Center
Sunday, September 20 Birmingham, AL BJCC Arena
Tuesday, September 22 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Thursday, September 24 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena
Saturday, September 26 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
Tuesday, September 29 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
Friday, October 2 Chicago, IL United Center
Sunday, October 4 St Louis, MO Scottrade Center
Tuesday, October 6 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
Wednesday, October 7 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
Friday, October 9 New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
Sunday, October 11 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Tuesday, October 13 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
Thursday, October 15 El Paso, TX El Paso County Coliseum