Amanda Nunes cemented her status as an all-time great of the sport with a display of complete dominance in her unanimous decision win over Canadian contender Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 in Las Vegas.
Nunes’ victory at the behind-closed-doors event at the UFC Apex made history as she became the first simultaneous two-weight champion to register successful defences of both titles.
The Florida-based Brazilian totally dominated every facet of the fight as she connected with her punches almost at will, while dominating the grappling exchanges on the mat, en route to a landslide victory on the scorecards after five one-sided rounds.
The judges scored the contest 50-44, 50-44, 50-45.
“When she connected the first punch on me, I knew she would never knock me out,” said Nunes after her victory.
“This fight, I wanted to go five rounds. I know if I had time I would finish her, but it’s important for me to go five rounds. I’m tired of hearing, ‘Amanda cannot go five rounds’. Stop that, everybody. I went five rounds with the toughest girl in the division and I’m not tired.”
Nunes captured the UFC’s women’s 145-pound featherweight title in December 2018 with a one-round demolition of compatriot Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino at UFC 238. After capturing her second UFC title, Nunes then returned to bantamweight and registered her fourth and fifth defences of her 135-pound title.
At UFC 250, Nunes’ title defence at featherweight set a new benchmark for UFC champions as she became the first simultaneous two-weight champion to defend both belts as a double champion. Former simultaneous two-weight champions Daniel Cormier and Henry Cejudo both successfully defended their two titles, but had relinquished one before defending the other.
Nunes’ victory further cemented her reputation as the greatest female fighter in UFC history.
The 32-year-old from Bahia owns first-round wins over every women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion in UFC history, plus successful title defences in both weight classes as an active champion. The biggest challenge now is for the UFC’s matchmakers, who have to find the next competitive challenge for arguably the most dominant champion on the UFC roster.
Sterling and Garbrandt deliver statements at bantamweight
The main card also saw two of the world’s top bantamweights score eye-catching victories, as 135-pound contender Aljamain Sterling and former champion Cody Garbrandt both registered impressive stoppage wins.
Number two-ranked Sterling finished rising contender Cory Sandhagen via first-round submission, while world number nine Garbrandt spectacularly knocked out Brazilian contender Raphael Assuncao in the last second of the second round as the two 135-pound contenders both staked a claim for a title shot.
The UFC’s bantamweight title was recently vacated by Henry Cejudo, who retired in the octagon after his victory at UFC 249. The UFC is looking to book a fight between Russian contender Petr Yan and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo for the vacant belt later this summer.
Now Sterling and Garbrandt have put themselves firmly in contention for the first shot at the winner of that fight, with Garbrandt’s win particularly sweet for the former champion, who ended a run of three successive stoppage defeats with a spectacular knockout of his own as he returned to winning ways for the first time since December 2016.
“I’ve been through every emotion in life, in my career – ups and downs,” he said after his victory.
“What I held onto was fighting. I was blessed with a beautiful wife, a beautiful son and the dream in my heart to pursue this and pick myself up time and time again after getting knocked out and embarrassed to keep that dream alive in my heart.
“I’m just forever thankful that I was able to keep that passion and that drive through it all. I might have bent, but I never broke.”