Amanda Nunes regained the UFC bantamweight title with a dominant unanimous decision win over Julianna Pena in Dallas.
The Brazilian’s five-year reign had been ended by Pena last December, but Nunes avenged this loss with a striking masterclass before moving the fight to the mat and surviving a number of dangerous submission attempts.
Fighting out of a southpaw stance, the 34-year-old dropped Pena three times in the second round – twice with her right hand and once with her left – as her opponent struggled to find her range.
Nunes pulled off a string of takedowns over the final three rounds and spent most of her time in top position, but she had to survive a threatening attempt at an armbar submission midway through the fourth round as Pena fought desperately off her back with Nunes raining down elbows on top of her.
The judges rewarded Nunes with a unanimous decision victory that saw her add the bantamweight belt to her featherweight title as she regained her status as reigning champion in two weight classes.
“I know Julianna is tough. I was ready for that. I could have finished her but I wanted to go five rounds to prove that I was better than her,” said Nunes.
“I did everything already. Now I have the belt (again) and I’m just going to keep going. This is just something I have to do. Keep going. I did everything I can. I’m very happy.”
In the co-main event, Brandon Moreno scored a third-round TKO win over Kai Kara-France set up with a thunderous kick to the body to win the interim flyweight title. The Mexican will now face Deiveson Figueredo for the undisputed title.