Amanda Nunes thoroughly dominated Julianna Pena in their big champion vs. champion rematch at UFC 277 this past weekend (July 30, 2022), yet it still wasn’t enough to avoid some criticism.
Across all three judges' scorecards, the reigning women’s Featherweight champion won every single round with two judges giving Nunes a 10-8 score for round two, with judge Doug Crosby giving her a second in round five. Despite her best efforts while clearly down as the fight progressed, Pena’s best success came in the grappling department fighting underneath Nunes and seeking submissions.
As alluded to, round two was Nunes’ best, seeing her knock down the now former Bantamweight champion, Pena. Nunes revealed post-fight that she could have finished Pena but instead wanted to dominate her in every area for 25 minutes (watch highlights). In UFC President, Dana White’s, mind, he agrees in a way.
“I think two things: Julianna’s tough as nails and her will to win was second to none,” White said at the UFC 277 post-fight press conference (h/t MMA Fighting). “She wanted to win. I think as dominant as Amanda was — and she was dominant tonight, I didn’t think it was close in any way, shape, or form, it was a complete shutout — but she still looked a little gun-shy to me. Going in against the person who beat you the first time, I could see that happening. I mean, it’s stupid for me to even say that. It was an absolutely dominant performance.”
One of the big factors of Nunes’ downfall in the first Pena bout last December was the quickness in which her gas tank faded early into round two. Pena capitalized on the momentum shift, getting in Nunes’ face to ultimately pull off the wild upset, securing a rear-naked choke submission (watch highlights).
White remembered back to the clash with Cris “Cyborg” Justino and how different the performances were.
“I think she was concerned about her cardio probably, because when you think about the way that she fought ‘Cyborg’, she usually throws tons of punches,” White said. “She had Julianna hurt many times, had her on crazy legs a couple of times, and never really went in for the kill.”
For complete UFC 277: “Nunes vs. Pena 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE.