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Amanda Nunes reaffirmed her greatness to the few who doubted her after she lost her bantamweight title to Julianna Peña in December. And though Peña surrendered her belt to Nunes Saturday in the main event of UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas she proved she’s one of the toughest fighters ever to set foot in the Octagon.
It was an incredible fight, as Nunes went southpaw early and was cracking Peña repeatedly with hard right hands. She went wrestle-heavy in the second half of the fight and Peña, despite being covered with blood, was throwing up submission attempts.
But this was Nunes’ night and she put on perhaps her greatest performance since she stopped Cris Cyborg in 2018 at UFC 232.
Nunes swept all five rounds on all three judges’ cards, winning by scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43. Yahoo Sports had Nunes, 50-44.
There was little doubt when it was over, though there was plenty of doubt throughout the fight. Nunes was clearly in control, but Peña caught her in several submission attempts, including an armbar and a Kimura, that caused Nunes several nervous moments.
Nunes had said before the fight that she wasn’t in the right condition ahead of their first fight, when she lost the title at UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Peña submitted her in the second round with a rear-naked choke that night.
But Nunes was dominant from beginning to end and had Peña reeling repeatedly. She cut Peña with an elbow on the top of the forehead and the blood flowed into Peña’s eyes for most of the final two rounds. Peña cutman Don House did an admirable job stopping it, but Nunes kept reopening it and Peña was leaking all over the Octagon.
Nunes reaffirmed her status as the greatest female fighter in MMA history, but Peña still sits as her greatest challenge after two fights.