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.

Ketlen Vieira Defeats Former UFC Champion Holly Hunt

Ketlen Vieira is proving she’s a title contender…

The 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist improved to 3-1 in her past four fought contests on Saturday, as she outpointed former champion Holly Holm (14-6) in a five-round main event to make her a new contender for the UFC‘s women’s bantamweight division title.

Ketlen VieiraThe 135-pound fight was very close. Two judges scored it 48-47 for Vieira, while a third had it 48-47 for Holm.

The victory could very well place Vieira (13-2) next in line for a title shot.

Current champion Julianna Peña will defend her belt against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 on July 30. That bout is a rematch of their shocking title fight in December, which Peña won via submission in the second round.

Vieira has built her title résumé off two former champions. Prior to Saturday’s win over Holm, she took out another former champ in Miesha Tate in November.

Holm is a Hall of Fame professional boxer, but it was Vieira’s hands that appeared to be more dangerous on Saturday. She found her distance with the straight right hand as the fight progressed, scoring on Holm at range — where Holm is usually strongest. Vieira’s success at range actually forced Holm to close distance, which Vieira used to her advantage at times by landing counter rights.

Holm’s best work actually came in the clinch, which she tried to apply throughout the fight. According to UFC Stats, she accumulated over 10 minutes of control time by holding Vieira against the fence, where she landed short knees and punches. She out-landed Vieira in total strikes 188 to 122, but many of those short shots along the fence did not carry much weight.

Holm did score one knockdown with a sidekick to Vieira’s body in the fourth round, and she landed a pair of powerful front kicks in the fifth. Vieira’s offense was just heavier, however. She also nearly submitted Holm in the second round with a standing rear-naked choke, after Holm got careless in a takedown attempt.

For Holm, the loss snaps a two-fight win streak. The Albuquerque native had been knocking on the door of her first title fight since 2019, when she suffered a first-round knockout to Nunes.

Miguel Cotto Named to International Boxing Hall of Fame

Miguel Cotto entering the hall

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican former professional boxer will be enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, alongside Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney.

Miguel Cotto,Cotto, Jones and Toney highlight the Boxing Hall’s Class of 2022, as revealed on Tuesday.

They’re joined by female champions Holly Holm and Regina Hamlisch, alongside publicist Bill Caplan, journalist Ron Borges and historian/producer Bob Yalen.

When they’re all inducted on June 12 in Canastota, New York, the group will be accompanied by the previous two classes. Because of the pandemic, fighters from those classes — such as Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko — have yet to be enshrined.

Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) retired at age 37 following an upset loss to Sadam Ali. One of the most accomplished boxers from Puerto Rico, Cotto routinely fought before sellout crowds at Madison Square Garden, thrilling the masses with his ferocious body punching.

Cotto won titles at 147 pounds and 154 before he upset Sergio Martinez for the middleweight championship. Cotto competed with three Hall of Famers during his career: a win over Shane Mosley and losses to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Cotto was also defeated by future Hall of Famer Canelo Alvarez.

Cotto’s loss to Antonio Margarito in 2008 is a welterweight classic. He later avenged the defeat.

Aaron Pico to Fight Aiden Lee at Bellator 260 in June

Aaron Pico has singled out his next opponent…

The 24-year-old Latino mixed martial artist, the top MMA prospect will fight Aiden Lee at Bellator 260 on June 11 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, according to ESPN.

Aaron Pico 

That card will be broadcast on Showtime and headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and challenger Yaroslav Amosov.

Pico (7-3) has won three straight — all by finish — after two knockout losses. The California native is 3-1 since making the move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to train at Jackson Wink MMA alongside the likes of former UFC champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm.

Pico was touted as the greatest prospect in MMA history ahead of his 2017 debut in Bellator. He nearly made the Olympics in wrestling and owns a national Golden Gloves boxing title. Pico has had some ups and downs thus far, but he seems to be putting it all together of late.

Lee (9-4) has won two in a row. The 26-year-old England native is coming off a third-round knockout win over Jeremy Petley last September. Lee trains under UFC middleweight Tom Breese.

Cris Cyborg Defeats Leslie Smith by TKO to Defend Bellator Women’s Featherweight Title

Cris Cyborg is keepin’ her title..

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial, whose real name is Cristiane Justino Venâncio,

Cris Cyborg 

defended her Bellator women’s featherweight title, beating Leslie Smith by TKO at 4 minutes, 51 seconds of the fifth round in the main event of Bellator 259 on Friday night at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

It was a rematch of a 2016 bout that Cyborg finished via TKO in just 1:21.

Known for her violent, quick finishes, Cyborg previously had been deeper than the third round only three times in her career. Smith is only the second fighter to take Cyborg into the fifth round, joining former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.

ESPN has Cyborg ranked No. 3 on its women’s MMA pound-for-pound list. Her only loss since her pro debut in 2005 came against Amanda Nunes, the UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion.

In their first fight at UFC 198 five years ago, Smith disputed the stoppage as being too early. She got some measure of vindication Saturday night, but the outcome wasn’t really ever in doubt.

Cyborg dominated every round, landing big combinations and several impactful suplexes that sent Smith hard to the mat. Cyborg dropped Smith in four out of five rounds with punches. Many of Cyborg’s former opponents have folded after feeling her power, but Smith didn’t until the closing seconds.

“I knew she’s tough,” Cyborg said in her postfight interview. “I knew. I’ve met her before. I know her. I really respect her. She’s a real fighter.” With time expiring in the fifth round, Cyborg landed a crushing right hand that dropped Smith. She then followed up with big punches on the ground. Smith turned over and covered up, but Cyborg continued the onslaught, and referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in and waved it off.

Afterward, Cyborg called out former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano for her next title defense. Zingano is 2-0 in Bellator and coming off a finish last month.

Cyborg (24-2, 1 NC) picked up her second Bellator title defense Saturday night. The Brazil native, who trains out of Southern California, has won four straight overall. She has 19 career wins via KO/TKO in 24 victories. Cyborg is the only fighter in MMA history to win titles in four major promotions: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.

Amanda Nunes Thrashes Megan Anderson to Retain UFC Women’s Featherweight Title

Amanda Nunes keeps on dominating…

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts history, absolutely thrashed No. 1 featherweight contender Megan Anderson.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes (21-4) forced Anderson (10-5) to tap to an armbar at 2:03 of the opening round of their featherweight title fight at UFC 259 inside the Apex. In all likelihood, she could’ve finished the fight any way she wanted. She rocked Anderson with a right hand in the opening minute, a shot that had the challenger on skates. Anderson was so hurt, she actually shot a takedown on Nunes, which led to a finish on the ground.

With the victory, Nunes defended her 145-pound title for the second time. She’s also still in control of the 135-pound bantamweight title. She is one of only three champions in UFC history to defend titles in multiple weight classes, and she holds UFC records for the women’s divisions in wins (14), finishes (10) and wins in title fights (9).

“The plan was exactly how I finished the fight,” Nunes said. “I’m here. It’s not my fault [I’m this dominant]. I know there are a lot of girls out there who want this opportunity. Who wants it?”

Anderson was a plus-700 underdog going into the fight — and that might not have been high enough. She did enough to earn a shot at Nunes in the 145-pound weight class, but she looked shell-shocked from the opening bell. Nunes slipped in a fastball overhand right early on, and it was all survival instincts from Anderson from then on. She ate several more right hands, before desperately attempting a takedown.

Nunes, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, easily stuffed the shot and moved to top position. She set up a triangle armbar attempt almost instantly and quickly produced the fourth submission win of her career. She extended her win streak to 12 overall, which is the second longest in the UFC behind only welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes and her wife, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff, brought their infant daughter, Raegan, into the Octagon after the win. Nunes, who was born in Brazil but trains in Florida, had Raegan at her side all fight week.

“I’m more dangerous now with my little girl,” Nunes said. “No one is stopping me.”

The UFC has not indicated any long-term plans for its 145-pound division, but there is no one in the foreseeable future for Nunes to fight at that weight. Her next move will almost assuredly be at bantamweight, where she has held the title since UFC 200 in 2016. She has defeated all of the sport’s biggest names, including Miesha TateRonda RouseyHolly HolmCris Cyborg and Germaine de Randamie.

Cris Cyborg Signs with Bellator MMA 

Cristiane Justino is taking her fight elsewhere…

The 34-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, better known as Cris Cyborg, has signed with Bellator MMA after a three-year run with the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC).

Cris Cyborg

One of the best women’s fighters in the history of the sport is now under a multiyear, multi-bout contract with Bellator, promotion president Scott Coker announced via Twitter. Coker wrote that it was the biggest contract ever given to a women’s MMA fighter.

Cyborg accompanied Bellator’s announcement with a video message to her fans on Facebook.

“My goal is to become the only female fighter to hold four different major titles in the same division,” said Cyborg, who has already held the women’s featherweight title in the UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.

The final fight on Cyborg’s UFC contract came against Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 in July, a bout Cyborg won via unanimous decision. 

The fighter and UFC president Dana Whitehave had a long history of butting heads, and White said in the aftermath of that bout the UFC was out of the Cyborg business. The UFC waived its 90-day exclusive negotiating window with the Brazilian knockout artist, making her a free agent.

Cyborg, who is No. 3 pound-for-pound among women in ESPN‘s MMA rankings, won the UFC women’s featherweight title by beating Tonya Evinger by third-round TKO at UFC 214 in July 2017. She dropped the belt to Amanda Nunes, also the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champ, at UFC 232 last December via first-round knockout. That defeat was Cyborg’s first in 13 years, since her pro MMA debut in 2005.

From 2005 until 2018, Cyborg was the most dominating and fearsome force in women’s mixed martial arts. Justino went undefeated and won 17 of 20 victories by finish. Cyborg has beaten the likes of Holly HolmMarloes Coenen and Gina Carano. Historically, she has also been one of the best-known women’s MMA fighters in the world, drawing solid numbers on television and pay-per-view.

“I have worked with countless athletes over my 30-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like Cyborg,” said Coker, who promoted Justino with Strikeforce. “Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again. Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator, where champion Julia Budd and the other women that make up best female featherweight division in the world have eagerly awaited her arrival.”

Cyborg was brought into the UFC in 2016 at a catchweight of 140 pounds. She had competed previously at 145 pounds, a more natural weight. The idea at the time was to set up a fight between Cyborg and Ronda Rousey, but it never materialized. Cyborg was too big to get down to Rousey’s 135-pound weight class and Rousey departed the UFC later in 2016.

Cyborg and the UFC had an embattled relationship even before Cyborg was under contract. In 2014, White infamously made fun of Cyborg for her appearance at an MMA awards show, saying she looked like male fighter Wanderlei Silva in a dress. Cyborg took it as White saying she looked like a man; White has said that he was making a comment on Cyborg’s past history with performance-enhancing drugs. Cyborg tested positive for a steroid and was stripped of her Strikeforce title in 2011.

After Nunes beat Cyborg last December, White repeatedly said Cyborg didn’t want a rematch, which Cyborg vehemently denied. Meanwhile, Cyborg said she felt the UFC never truly built out a women’s featherweight division in which she could compete, which was a valid criticism.

On Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show in July, Cyborg said she wanted a public apology from White as a condition of her re-signing with the UFC.

“Of course, he has to apologize,” Justino said. “I think he has family, he has kids. … I don’t know if he has a heart, but I think one thing he’s doing is not just touching me, because he doesn’t like me. He’s touching the people around me, he’s touching my family. It’s not right.”

The rocky relationship came to an end in earnest after UFC 240 when Cyborg’s team posted a doctored video online that inaccurately quoted White in subtitles while talking to Cyborg backstage in Edmonton, Alberta. Cyborg apologized on social media, but White said in an interview on the UFC’s YouTube channel that the promotion was done with Cyborg.

“I’m going to release her from her contract and I will not match any offers [she receives],” White said. “She is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other promotions and fight these easy fights she wants. Done. Done deal. I will literally, today, have my lawyer draft a letter to [Justino’s team saying] that she is free and clear.”

In the Bellator release announcing her signing, it makes note of the promotion’s healthy women’s featherweight division, including Budd, who has won 11 straight.

Amanda Nunes Defeats Holly Holm by TKO to Retain UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title

Amanda Nunesis making the case to be considered the greatest women’s MMAfighter of all time…

The 31-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter defeated Holly Holm by TKO on Saturday to retain her women’s bantamweight title.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes landed a right head kick to Holm’s face and followed up with a hard right hand on the ground. The TKO finish came at 4 minutes, 10 seconds in the first round of the co-main event of UFC 239at T-Mobile Arena.

Nunes said she’d told her coach beforehand that she wanted to stop Holm with a head kick, because that is Holm’s signature technique. Holm had the only other head-kick knockout in a UFC women’s bantamweight title fight, against Ronda Rouseyin 2015.

Coming in, Nunes, also the featherweight champion, had beaten every other former UFC women’s bantamweight or featherweight champion outside of Holm, and now she has defeated Holm as well.

“I told my coaches I wanted to knock her out the same way she knocks people out,” Nunes said. “I did it tonight. She was the only former champion I didn’t beat yet. Now I beat her, and I’m very happy.”

Nunes (17-4) said that she next wanted to defend her featherweight belt to become the only UFC champion to defend two titles while holding them concurrently. 

The Brazilian fighter, who trains out of American Top Teamin Florida, has won nine bouts in a row. Nunes, 31, has four first-round finishes in title fights, tied for second with Matt Hughes. Rousey is first with five.

UFC president Dana Whitereiterated his stance that Nunes ranks among the greatest MMA fighters ever, putting her alongside the likes of Anderson SilvaGeorges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.

White said he was open to booking a rematch between Nunes and Cris Cyborg, who lasted only 51 seconds against Nunes in December.

“This woman is tough, man,” White said of Nunes. “She’s unbelievable. Pound for pound, one of the greatest of all time. But there will be somebody next.”

Holm (12-5) had won two of her past three fights. The former three-division world champion boxer has now lost in four UFC title fights. Holm is only 2-5 since her knockout of Rousey at UFC 193.

Amanda Nunes to Defend her UFC Bantamweight Title Against Holly Holm

Amanda Nunes is ready to defend her title.

The 30-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, the reigning champion in both the women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions in the UFC, will defend her 135-pound bantamweight title against Holly Holm in the co-main event of UFC 239on July 6 in Las Vegas.

Amanda Nunes

 Verbal agreements are in place for that fight as well, sources said.

The bout will be part of a pay-per-view event, which will take place at T-Mobile Arena

Nunes (17-4) is a three-time defending bantamweight champion. She moved up to the 145-pound featherweight division in December and upset Cris “Cyborg” Justino in a first-round knockout for the UFC’s featherweight championship. 

She trains out of American Top Teamin Coconut Creek, Florida.

Holm (12-4), of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is coming off a decision win against Megan Anderson last June. She was scheduled to fight Aspen Ladd in March, but that bout was ultimately canceled and Ladd has since been rescheduled.

She is the first woman in UFC history to become a two-division champion, in addition to also being the first and only woman in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously. 

Serrano Defeats Yazmin Rivas to Retain WBO Junior Featherweight Title

Amanda Serrano is tightening her belt…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer defeated Yazmin Rivas by unanimous decision to retain the WBO junior featherweight title over the weekend in the first nationally televised English-language women’s world title bout in the United States since 2007.

Amanda Serrano

The judges scored the fight 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 to give Serrano the victory at Barclays Center in her hometown of Brooklyn.

The Puerto Rico-born Serrano (31-1-1, 23 KOs) landed 33 percent of her punches while Rivas (35-10-1, 10 KOs) landed just 20 percent, according to CompuBox, as the two women went the distance in the 10-round bout.

“We wanted the knockout, but I was ready for 10 rounds,” Serrano said. “People who think I’m just a brawler saw that I’m a great boxer today.”

Rivas, who took home $15,000 for the fight, still has yet to be knocked out in her professional career, while Serrano, who took home $17,500, carried a knockout percentage of 72 heading into the matchup — a rate unrivaled among the top women fighting in the junior featherweight division.

Still, Serrano went after Rivas aggressively throughout the fight, throwing 431 power punches and landing 177 (44 percent), while Rivas threw nearly 100 fewer and landed only 29 percent (97 of 332).

“She hit hard, but I hit her harder,” Serrano said. “I could hear her breathing in between rounds and I knew I had her.

“It was a great night for women’s boxing, and I hope it keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

The three judges scored all 10 rounds within a one-point margin, with their scorecards reflecting Serrano’s dominance in the middle rounds and strong performance in the final round to close it out.

“It was an excellent fight,” Rivas said. “I knew everything was against me and to win I had to knock her out. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen today.”

Serrano’s victory aired on Showtime Extreme, a subnetwork of Showtime, on the undercard of the network’s doubleheader headlined by the Badou JackJames DeGale super middleweight world title unification bout.

The last women’s world title fight on English-language television in the U.S. was Mary Jo Sanders‘ defeat of Valerie Mahfood by unanimous decision to retain her International Boxing Association female middleweight title on March 30, 2007, on ESPN2.

A week before that fight, Fox Sports Net televised Holly Holm defeating Ann Saccurato to win the IBA female world welterweight title, the WBC female world welterweight title, the WBA world female welterweight title and the International Female Boxers Association world welterweight title.

Serrano-Rivas also was the first women’s fight on a Showtime network (non-pay-per-view) since 2000.