Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena squared off in a women’s Bantamweight contest earlier tonight (Sat., July 30, 2022) from inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. In a dominant showing, Nunes regained her title.
Nunes opened the rematch with a power kick from the Southpaw stance. Pena connected with a right hand over the top. Nunes answered with a hard right hand and follow up calf kick. Heavy counter right hook connected for Nunes, but Pena fired back with a combination. Pena’s straight right hand was looking solid midway through the fight. Nunes’ counter right landed again, and Pena briefly hit the canvas. Nunes did it again! The Brazilian stayed patient and chopped another calf kick. Pena stuck a couple jabs and then a right hand over the top. Another combination landed for the champion, and a jab afterward for good measure. Pena denied a takedown and landed a right, but Nunes cracked her hard twice near the bell.
Nunes tried to start the second with a big knee but absorbed a right hand over the top. Pena tried to surge forward and ate a massive check right hook, and this one hurt her bad! Nunes didn’t chase the finish, however, letting Pena recover. Pena — for reasons unknown — tried to rush forward and ate another huge counter shot that floored her for the second time in 90 seconds. Despite scoring two vicious knock downs, Nunes remained patient and stuck to her distance strikes.
Pena cracked Nunes with a nice right of her own. Another good land for the champion! For the third time in the round, a Nunes counter shot landed perfectly on a rushing Pena and sent her to the canvas. Yet again, Nunes did not pursue her to the canvas.
The second round was simply nuts.
Nunes landed a spinning elbow early in the third. Pena was having a lot of difficulty with the range, particularly since Nunes was very willing to hang back and snap front kicks. Pena still managed to find her occasional right hands, but Nunes did well to limit those exchanges when the shots did score. Two minutes into the round, Nunes landed a takedown and wound up in full guard. Pena tried to throw up armbars and triangles, but time ticked away and elbows started to land. By the end of the round, Nunes was bloody and far behind on the cards.
Nunes opened the fourth round with a powerful double leg takedown. Pulling out of an omoplata, Nunes let loose a giant right hand. Undeterred, Pena kept attacking submissions from her back, but that’s a difficult game when blood and sweat are involved. Still, one armbar came really damn close, but Nunes was able to slip away yet again. Nunes released a series of elbows, pulled out of another armbar, and the duo returned to their feet ... briefly. Another takedown landed Nunes in top position in the guard. A reset allowed Pena to land one nice punch before getting grounded for the third and final time in the fourth round.
With five minutes remaining, the champion absolutely needed a finish.
Pena landed another right hand early in the fifth, prompting yet another easy double leg from the challenger. Nunes pulled out of another submission attempt, but Pena was able to scramble back to her feet ... only to be instantly taken back down. Pena kept trying to work from her back, but it just wasn’t happening. In the final minute, Nunes passed guard and took the back. Her finish didn’t materialize either, so the clock eventually ran out.
We didn’t have to wait for the judges’ scorecards to be announced to know “The Lioness” was back on top. A bit of patience went a long way for Nunes, who consistently battered Pena for five rounds.
Result: Amanda Nunes defeats Julianna Pena via unanimous decision
For complete UFC 277: “Nunes vs. Pena 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE.